Spain has won approval from European authorities to spend 2.13 billion euros ($2.4 billion) on the closure of 26 coal mines by 2018.

The government expenditure includes covering production losses as the uncompetitive mines wind down, providing financial support to laid-off workers through severance payments and social security benefits, and financing safety and other works after the mines close.

The European Commission, which approves state aid as long as it doesn't distort competition, gave the go-ahead Friday after agreeing to Spain's closure plan, which has brought protests from some miners.

Coal accounts for about a quarter of the European Union's electricity production, according to the Commission, which is trying to drastically reduce the bloc's carbon emissions, including from coal-fired power plants.