Limits to lignite mining, Horní Jiřetín, Czech Republic

“System change, not Climate Change”. Climate activists join in solidarity with other "blockadia" like movements and actions in Europe to say Leave the Coal in the Hole!"


In the year 1991 there was an important governmental restriction called spatial and environmental limits to lignite mining. The purpose of the restriction was to set boundaries to the lignite mining in order to enable the transition of the economy of the region and minimize social costs of closing the mines immediately.  At the same time the limits were also meant to protect the settlements close to the mine from being demolished in order to extend the operating mine. The governmental restriction was however contested later on by the mining companies. 

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Basic Data
NameLimits to lignite mining, Horní Jiřetín, Czech Republic
CountryCzech Republic
ProvinceThe Ústí region
SiteHorní Jiřetín
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn the mine of Czechoslovak Army (operated by Severní energetická) was extracted 3,6 milion tonnes of lignite in the year 2015.

In the mine Bílina (operated by Severočeské doly) was extracted 9,4 million tonnes in the year 2015.

Expected reserves of lignite protected by the limits are 750 milion tonnes.

The overall lignite produstion of Czech Republic in the 2014 was 38,2 million tonnes.
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Company Names or State EnterprisesSeverní energetická from Czech Republic - Severní energetická is operating the open cast mine of Czechoslovak Army, which is located close to the town of Horní Jiřetín. If the mine would be extended it would mean demolition of the town.
Severočeské doly from Czech Republic - The company is operating the mine Bílina, which is supposed to be extended.
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Industry and Trade (

Ministry of Environment (
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLimity jsme my -

Greenpeace -

Kořeny -
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesKeep fossil fuels in the ground.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Despite at this moment inhabitants of Horní Jiřetín are not going to be displaced, the mining still continues and the fairer alternatives are not discussed
Sources and Materials

Frantál, B. (2016). Living on coal: Mined-out identity, community displacement and forming of anti-coal resistance in the Most region, Czech Republic. Resources Policy, 49, 385-393.

Říha, M., Stoklasa, J., Lafarová, M., Dejmal, I., Marek, J., Pakosta, P., & Beránek, K. (2005). Environmental Mining Limits in North Bohemian Lignite Region. Praha, Společnost pro krajinu.

Máca, V., & Melichar, J. (2016). The health costs of revised coal mining limits in Northern Bohemia. Energies, 9(2), 81.


Limity jsme my! (We are the limits!) The first International Climate Camp in Czech Republic, Horní Jiřetín - entitle blogpost
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Facebook Page of the Limity jsme my movement
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Limity jsme my page
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Other Documents

Climate camp at Horní Jiřetín Protesters with the mines surrounding Horní Jiřetín in the background (author unknown)
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The protesters’ human chain The protesters’ human chain as the human limits to mining (source: Facebook page)
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Meta Information
ContributorMikuláš Černík, Limity jsme my, Masaryk university, [email protected]
Last update29/10/2017