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Miners’ Union: over half of the mines in Ukraine do not work

Article by: Anastasiya Moskvychova
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – Over 80 coal mines are not functional in Donbas, seven of which are flooded already and another ten are being flooded at this time. According to the Independent Miners’ Union, coal is being accumulated on the territories under terrorist control, however, it cannot be transported even to the nearby thermal power plants. Meanwhile experts advise to take advantage of the coal crisis and use it to switch to other energy sources, and finally ‘lift up’ the miners from the earth. 

Over 40% of the industrial potential in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts has been destroyed as a result of combat, stated Petro Poroshenko during his visit to Lviv oblast. The coal industry is in a particularly difficult situation. The mines are being flooded due to danger of explosion caused by lack of electricity.

Throughout September, Ukraine has extracted half as much coal as it did during the same time last year, reports UNIAN citing the Trade Union of the Coal Mining Industry.

Out of 136 Ukrainian coal mines, about fifty are active today, 10 of which are in Dnipropetrovsk oblast and 10 in the Lviv-Volyn basin, however the main fuel for the thermal stations that use coal, anthracite, is extracted in Donbas, notes head of the Independent Coal Miners’ Union Mykhaylo Voronets.

“In Luhansk oblast, two coal mines work in the town of Lysychansk, eleven mines work in the town of Sverdlovsk and Rovenky, and another three work for the Pervomayskvuhillya union. And in Donetsk oblast, there are five active mines in the town of Dobropillya, in Krasnoarmiysk there are four, and five mines from Selydivvuhillya. Besides, the Krasnolymansk mine is now trying to start working, as well as the Zasyadko mine – from time to time, and another private mine in Krasnoarmiysk vuhillya works, though it belongs to a Russian oligarch,” says he.

Besides, according to the chairman of the miners’ union, the state cannot receive part of the fuel extracted earlier which had been paid for in advance. In particular, as Volynets notes, eleven DTEK mines, which are part of the finance-industrial union belonging to Rinat Akhmetov, started working at half-force in Luhansk oblast, as they are unable to export the fuel they’d extracted to the thermal power plant in Shchastya because of the ruined railways.

53 mines are on territories under separatist control. This was stated by the first deputy to the Minister for Energy Yury Ziukov, repots the ministry’s press service. According to him, almost ninety thousand miners may be left without work, as Ukraine is ready to only pay for the coal which is offloaded and used to satisfy the needs of Ukrainian energy.

Novak: the crisis in the East is a chance to reduce the subsidized coal industry

Even before combat, about one-third of mines in the region were unprofitable, this year the state approved a partial compensation for 14 billion UAH, says director of the analytics department of one of investment companies, Concorde Capital, Oleksandr Parashchiy. According to him, up to 180 thousand miners work for such mines.

The crisis in the East is a chance to reduce the coal industry, which is less needed in the 21st century, and “lift up the miners from the earth” by giving a different job, for example, employ them to rebuild the region, head of the Economists’ Committee of Ukraine Andriy Novak is convinced. To his mind, Ukraine should develop a long-term strategy.

“If we are to talk about the fastest alternative, for example, starting next year, it is nuclear energy, we don’t have a different alternative so far. Well, much slower, but just as effective, are renewable energy sources, however, it is a strategy issue, once again,” the economist thinks.

The government earlier talked about the intention to increase coal extraction from mines in Lviv oblast and Volyn and partially transition thermal power plants to using heavy oil and imported coal.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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