Ukrainian coal extraction reached 2.64 million metric tonnes (mt) in July, up from 2.55 million mt in June and up from 2.61 million mt in July 2017, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry (MECI) reported Tuesday.
Extraction of thermal coal- also known as steam coal , used for power and heat generation- increased by 7.7% to 2.22 million mt in July from 2.06 million mt in July 2017.
Coking coal output dropped by 24.4% to 420,100 mt from 555,800 mt. Coling coal is also known as metallurgical coal and is used to create coke, one of the key irreplaceable inputs for the production of steel.
In January-July, Ukrainian coal production reached 19.14 million mt, down 9.1% year-on-year, or by 1.91 million mt, from 21.05 million mt a year ago, the ministry said.
Thermal coal output dropped by 8.7% to 15.52 million mt in January-July from 17 million mt, while coking coal output decreased 10.4% to 3.62 million mt from 4.04 million mt.
Ukraine, a major coal producer and exporter for more than a century, holds the sixth-largest coal reserves in the world, after China, the United States, India, Russia and Australia. In-situ coal reserves amount to 56 billion tonnes, of which steam coal accounts for 70% and coking coal 30%.
Most of the country’s coal deposits are located in the Donetsk basin, in eastern Ukraine with a reserve of 101.9 billion tonnes.
Other main resources can be found in the Dnipropetrovsk coal basin (4.1 billion tonnes) and the Lviv-Volyn coal basin (2.3 billion tonnes), as well as in the Dniprovsko-Donetska coal depression (8.7 billion tonnes) and the Zakarpattya or Transcarpathian coal depression (0.2 billion tonnes), according to the European Association for Coal and Lignite.
The deposits are characterised by their great depth – operations take place at 500 to 1 000 metres – and by thin seams of 0.8 to 1.0 metre.
Today there are about 150 mines operating in Ukraine, of which 90 are state-owned and run by the MECI. According to the State Statistics Service, the total number of people employed by the Ukrainian coal industry was 122,000, including 51,000 at state-owned mines.
The state-owned mines extracted 2.47 million mt of coal in January-July, down 10.5% from 2.76 million mt a year ago, according to the ministry.
Ukraine produced 34.92 million mt of coal in 2017, down 14.5% from 2016.
According to the World Energy Council, coal production in Ukraine halved over the last 20 years on the back of low demand in the mid-1990s and on a lack of investments into sector’s development. Throughout Ukraine, the mining industry’s general debt is estimated to be $18.7m.