19. 04. 2017 15:10
The Upper Nitra mines in the town of western Slovak town of Handlová have begun producing their own food pastes, reported TASR on Tuesday. This step has been introduced as part of similar non-mining activities launched earlier in a quest to gradually replace underground coal mining. "Although it might appear that 40 people (working at the greenhouses in the neighbouring town of Nováky) are too few, we already have further activity, and we're preparing many others," said Stanislav Gurský, the managing director of a company called Agro GTV, which belongs to the Upper Nitra Mines Group. "As part of fish breeding, we're currently launching the processing of fish meat in the form of food paste, and one of the spreads will contain oyster mushrooms. The latter will appear on the market within two or three weeks," said Gurský adding that pastes containing sharp tooth catfish, beans and vegetables, respectively, have been on sale since December 2016.
Meanwhile, Agro GTV currently grows 1,500 tonnes of tomatoes annually in greenhouses in the neighbouring town of Nováky as part of a project started seven years ago. At the same time its subsidiary fish farm called Agro-Rybia farma in Handlová used to grow 150 tonnes of tomatoes and 100 tonnes of cucumbers annually, but the company has dropped cucumbers this year due to lower than expected revenues, replacing them with a new variety of tomatoes.
Upper Nitra Mines supply the heat Electricity plant in Nováky with coal. This electricity production is both ecologically and economically ineffective. As the energia.sk website wrote at the beginning of April, even though the end consumers donate almost 100€ million via state budget for burning the coal from the Upper Nitra Mines, the company has recorded a loss at the level of 4.5€ million". According to the government directive from 2015, the Electricity plant has to produce energy from Slovak coal until 2030 in order to keep employment in the mining industry. However, this March, Economy Minister Peter Žiga admitted that the term could be cut. "I am ready for a discussion on shortening the term and closing it definitely." said Žiga. As of May 2016, the mines declared that they employed over 4,100 people in their company.