Brzkov – Will they stop the proceedings for extension of the protected deposit area?

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It has been almost a year since the lawyer Luboš Kliment began to represent the four municipalities (Brzkov, Věžnice, Přibyslav and Polná), including owners of endangered estates and the association Our Future Without Uranium (NBBU[1]) from Brzkov. Since then a few discussions with locals were held and many press releases to the media were issued.

For example, on past action on 18th March 2016[2] (which was organized by the municipality Brzkov in cooperation with NBBU) people jingled keys like during the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and with respect to democratic values they protested against the behavior of the Minister of Industry and Trade (MPO) Mládek. He said he was "disgusted" by a media campaign in connection with the mining company Urania Mining Ltd. which also expressed interest in the Brzkov’s uranium in the past. Locals requested from MPO to clarify whether or not there can be an international arbitration between the Australian company and the Czech State. In March 2015 [3] Ministry of the Environment (MŽP) refused the Australian application to take steps towards uranium mining based on the Raw Material Policy of 1999, while the application of the state enterprise DIAMO was accepted in December 2014. The Raw Material Policy rejects new uranium mining in the Czech Republic, however, a draft Raw Material Policy of December 2015 - not approved yet – welcomes new mining. It contains steps to prepare new mining of the Brzkov-Věžnice deposit whose capacity of about 3,000 tons is sufficient for the operation of the reactors at Dukovany and Temelin nuclear power plants for only about 7 years. However, mining would be held sometime after 2022 only on the condition of the economic viability of the project. The minimum price of uranium would have to surge from the current cca $28 to $60 per pound of uranium, which ruled out[4] in the next twenty years.

At the most recent debate, on 12th April 2016[5] (which was also attended by Senator Vystrčil, a member of the Green Party in Jihlava Konvalinková and Deputy Mayor of Havlíčkův Brod Honzárek), people learned from a lawyer and three mayors as follows: the proceedings for extension of the protected deposit area (CHLÚ) , for which DIAMO applied in 2015, are still taking place, but have been suspended until June 30 upon the decision of the Ministry of the Environment. Upon the request of locals, the Ministry challenged DIAMO to substantiate its statement that the geological survey between the years 1976-1990 was carried out properly. Since the November debate in Brzkov, locals have been negotiating with the Ministry of the Environment to find out how it is possible that in some places in the vicinity of Brzkov no geological survey took place in the past. They also have serious doubts about the relevance of the survey prior to 1989. In March 2016, the Vysočina Regional Authority also announced that it did not consider the Feasibility Study of the Brzkov-Věžnice Deposit by DIAMO GEAM dated July 2014 as a sufficient basis in order to incorporate this plan into their Principles of Territorial Development (see point (202[6])). Locals in Brzkov gave a deadline to the Minister Mládek by the end of May 2016 for the MPO to suspend the proceedings for extension of CHLÚ entirely. They also have an ambitious goal to convince the authors of the proposal of new Raw Material Policy to totally abandon plans for a new mining in Brzkov. In case that neither of the plans works out and the proceedings for extension of CHLÚ are restored even without sufficient evidence of properly conducted geological surveys, locals are ready to defend themselves before the Constitutional Court.

Olga Kališová, Calla (April 18, 2016)