Ukrainian coal industry update

THE Ukrainian coal industry remains in a state of flux, reports Alexandre Salyayev*, editor of Russian-based World Mining Technologies & Equipment Magazine.

Staff Reporter

Presently the Ukrainian coal industry has 180 mines and more than half of them are 50 years and older. Some 92 mines are at a working depth not exceeding 600 m. They provided about 40% of the total country production of 83,4 million tons in 2001.

Fifty mines work at depths exceeding 900m and 90% of these mines have dangerous gas issues. The technical condition of some coal mines is so bad that mines are unable to provide sufficient stocks of coal for the winter. As a result the government has to purchase coal abroad, said Victor Yanukovich, Head of Donetsk Regional State Administration.

The last six years saw the closure of about one hundred mines. During the same period coal production increased by 12% and average wages increased 4,4 times. Roughly 50 of the remaining mines are not able to pay full wages.

“These mines extract coal and sell it but the money gained cannot cover all expenses. Some cardinal decisions must be taken”, said Vitaly Gayduk, Minister of Fuel and Energy.

The Ukrainian Coal State Program was adopted in the second half of 2001, which outlined coal industry developments for the period till 2010. The Program has marked industry financing of about $US 1.1 million in 2002, reducing to about half of that by 2010. By that time production has to be increased to 110 million of tons, and shares in mines are to be sold to national and foreign investors.

“Private mines will be a fact in the near future. We will come to it surely”, Gayduk said. Two private Ukrainian mines are already established, the Krasnoarmeyskaya-Zapadnaya No.1 and Komsomolets Donbassa mines.

* Published with permission from World Mining Technologies & Equipment Magazine (in Russian),