October 9, 2018 / 8:13 AM / a year ago

RWE may cut Hambach lignite output after court delays logging

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - German utility RWE expects to reduce lignite output at its Hambach site in Germany, a spokeswoman for RWE said, following a court ruling that will delay plans to expand the mine by clearing an ancient forest.

She was confirming a report by German magazine Der Spiegel that said output would decline by 10 to 15 million tonnes a year from its current level of 40 million tonnes.

A court in the German city of Muenster said on Friday that RWE could not start logging in the Hambach forest until a separate court had reviewed environmental claims, which RWE said would push back mining until after 2020 and hit its earnings.

The spokeswoman for RWE said on Tuesday that the forecast for a hit of more than 100 million euros on the 2019 operating profit of its Lignite & Nuclear division already took the expected output reduction into account.

She added that no mining jobs should be affected in the short term and that RWE was sticking with its full-year guidance for this year.

Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Maria Sheahan; editing by Thomas Seythal and Michelle Martin

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