Poland coal sector to be restructured

The World Bank has agreed the terms of a $300m loan with Poland that will fund a four-year coal industry restructuring programme in the east European country. As many as 68 500 job losses could occur in the first three years.

The loan will be disbursed in two tranches, pending the Polish government`s implementation of certain conditions such as redundancies, mine privatizations and closures. A further $700m of loans to cover the 2001-2002 period could be finalized at talks due to take place next year.

The first tranch of the loan is worth $70m and could be drawn down this year providing the government closes three mines and confirms the closure of a fourth. The government will then draw on a further $230m early in 2000 to help fund the year`s Zlotys2bn ($506m) industry restructuring plans. Conditions tied to the second tranch include 4600 voluntary redundancies and the privatization of two mines.