Transforming Mining Regions: Czech Republic’s 41 Billion Plan

The Czech government has approved the first grant from a particular subsidy program aimed at transforming regions affected by mining. This program, expected to distribute around 41 billion crowns, is designed to fund research, innovation, job-finding assistance, culture, and energy savings. Municipalities, regions, companies, and research institutions can draw from these funds.

The approved funds will go towards the Black Cube in Ostrava, a building set to house the Moravian-Silesian Scientific Library, cinema, creative workshops, classrooms, and a digitization laboratory. The construction is expected to open in 2027. Environment Minister Petr Hladík (KDU-ČSL) stated that the project embodies the region’s vision of transitioning from coal mining to data mining.

Under the Operational Program “Fair Transformation,” negative impacts from the shift away from coal in the Karlovy Vary, Moravian-Silesian, and Ústí regions will be addressed. The program runs from 2021 to 2027, and it is considering funding the lithium mining in Cínovec via a grant application from the company Geomet.

With the program already receiving project proposals worth 20.4 billion crowns, Hladík stated that they aim to support creative projects with added value to help salaries in these regions match the rest of the Republic.

The supported activities include investments into small and medium enterprises, including startups, research and innovation, and the renewal and further utilization of areas post brown and black coal mining. According to Petr Valdman, Director of the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic, a crucial part of the program also includes investments into education and requalification.

There are several exciting projects in the pipeline. For example, in the Karlovy Vary region, the Medard project aims to transform a secluded location in Sokolov into a new leisure space. In the Ústí region, four projects have submitted applications, one of which is Synergys, focused on developing conditions for developing and implementing clean energy sources. These initiatives and many more represent a bold step forward in transforming these regions and building a sustainable future.