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Bosnia coal mines to increase production in 2016

Coal mines in Bosnia had troubles with production in 2014 and 2015. State owned power utility EPBiH coal fired power plants which are relying on the coal supply announced serious investments into coal production stabilization and capacity increase 2016 and 2017.

Thermal power plant Stanari whose construction was recently completed, started with test operation in the beginning of January this year. Considering they have their own mine of lignite coal, TPP Stanari will be supplied from it directly. This could cause problems for TPP Tuzla considering that it obtained significant amounts of coal from this mine. TPP Stanari is owned by UK firm EFT ( Energy Financing Team) and its the only private owned power generation facility in South East Europe.

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In 2014 and 2015 the mine Stanari delivered 450.000 tons of coal to Elektroprivreda BIH (EP BIH) and to TPP Tuzla, which is nearly half of the production from this mine. In Elektroprivreda BIH they say that they have a deal with MTPP Stanari on the delivery of coal for the first three months in the total amount of 150.000 tons. Currently they are in negotiations on the continuation of possible cooperation.

Insufficient amounts

The citizens often raised the question why is coal obtained from other mines when in the territory of FBIH there are mines that need that kind of “injection” to make progress. According to the Communication Service of EP BIH the mines were not able to provide coal for the planned production of electricity, so they had to find options to buy the missing quantities from the mines which are not part of the Concern.

“While creating the electricity balance a necessary and possible production of electricity is determined, while taking into consideration the needs of domestic buyers, and planning certain surpluses of electricity which is to be sold in the market with the aim to fulfill the plans of the company. Based on the planned production of electricity, the plan of thermal power plant units overhaul, plan of operation of more efficient and more profitable units, we are calculating the demand for coal. Based on that need we send a demand to the mines belonging to Concern so they can answer if they can meet the planned production of electricity with their own production”, it was explained to us from this Service.

The biggest quantities come from Stanari and Banovići

The Concern owns the mines Kreka, RMU Kakanj, Zenica, Breza, Đurđevik, Abid Lolić in Travnik and Gračanica.

“The biggest quantities are bought from RMU Banovići, while this coal is also projected for the Block 6 – 223 MW in TPP Tuzla. Total amounts of coal which are bought from RMU Banovići are more than 1.000.000 tons a year. The other quantities of coal, mostly lignite, Elektroprivreda BIH buys from MTPP Stanari, the mine which is located in RS. This mine is the only one in the area which has lignite that is fully compatibale with lignite units in TPP Tuzla“ they told us from the Service.

RMU Banovići gives 70 percent of its yearly production to TPP Tuzla. According to data from CIN document „Energy potential in BIH“ which was published in 2015, the mines from the Concern produce the following quantities of coal per year: mine Kreka – 2.700.000, Đurđevik – 570.000, Kakanj – 1.170.000, Breza – 500.000, Zenica – 419.000, Abid Lolić – 145.000 and Gračanica – 255.000. The majority of these quantities are sold to EP BIH except Zenica which gives the smaller percentage to EP BIH (39%).

“Considering the measures taken in the process of increasing production in the mines in the Concern, we expect the production of coal to increase in the second half of the year, so we think that the mines from FBIH will be able to produce sufficient amounts of coal for a safe and reliable operation of thermal power plants of Elektroprivreda BIH. In 2016, 5.744.000 tons was contracted in total from mines from FBIH (including RMU Banovići)“.

The mines need assistance

The biggest quantity of coal EP BIH buys from RMU Kakanj, almost 95 percent of their production.

„In decades the percentage of coal delivered to TPP Kakanj is between 95 and 98 percent. The rest ends up in open consumption in households and with different consumers who have their own heating systems fueled by coal, like education and health institutions“, said Adib Zekić, spokesman of RMU Kakanj.

In 2015, 1.000.400 tons of coal was sold to TPP Kakanj. The other consumers got 7.654 tons. This year it was planned to deliver 1.210.000 tons of coal to Elektroprivreda BIH. However, many experts from the field of mining and geology think that our mines can produce sufficient quantities of coal for a regular delivery of electricity without additional purchase. Unfortunately, the mines need big assistance to increase production, they need to be modernized and a lot of money needs to be invested in them.

“What will improve the state in RMU Kakanj is creating conditions for the increase in production. It is possible through stabilization of production capacities in both subsectors, underground and open pit exploitation of coal. We are currently limited by the stability of capacity in the underground exploitation considering that we were late with the preparation of new capacities. Very old equipment is being used, there is a lack in capable workers and the shift in generations of active workers had an impact on productivity. Introducing new production equipment in the underground exploitation of coal, which was arranged and delivery is expected in the second half of this year, will significantly improve the state and create conditions for safer, more humane and productive work in underground exploitation”, Zekić said.

Investment of 37,8 million euro

If production increase is expected in the long term it is necessary to renew all segments in the chain of coal exploitation, get new equipment and technology, while taking special care about the safety of employees and environment protection.

“In the long term in this segment it is necessary to increase capacities in technology lines of waste and coal removal in order to create conditions for a larger scale of coal reveal. The increase in capacity is possible through constant investment in transport damping units an upload capacities by getting new dredges with larger capacities” Zekić said

In the next three years it is planned for EP BIH to invest 35 million euro, and for RMU Kakanj to invest 7.6 million euro to improve the state in the mine and jump start the operation.

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