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CEZ seeks extension at Bilina lignite mine until 2035

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PRAGUE, March 2 (Reuters) - Czech utility CEZ is seeking to extend mining at its Bilina open-pit lignite mine by five years to 2035, a company spokesman said on Thursday.

While state-owned CEZ plans to cut the share of coal-fired plants in its electricity production to 12.5% by 2030, the government aims to phase out coal completely by 2033. The government owns 70% of CEZ.

Applying for an extension of the mining permit does not necessarily mean the mine would operate beyond 2030, said Lukas Kopecky, spokesman for CEZ minig unit Severoceske Doly.

"We simply want, as the CEZ group, to have more options to ensure energy security in some way," Kopecky said.

"If in 2033 it turns out that the energy security of the country could not be ensured without coal, this administrative background will also be in place."

(Reporting by Robert Muller Editing by David Goodman)
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