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Ukraine turns to coal imports

World Coal,

Ukraine’s reliance on Russian gas – supplies of which were cut by Russia in June – means the country faces a long and cold winter, according to prime minister Yatseniuk.

The prime minister said the country might need to import coal due to the impact of the conflict between the government and Russian separatists in the country’s industrial eastern regions.  

At the same time, the Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Ministry’s press service released a statement saying that the country must soon begin importing coal due to shortages at thermal power plants.

According to Reuters, around half of the 115 coal mines in Ukraine, Europe's second-largest coal producer, have halted production and output fell 22% year-on-year in July to 5.6 million t.

"The mines have been bombed so there's no production of thermal coal ... Without supplies to power plants, there are problems with electricity and heating," Yatseniuk said.

New Zealand will not supply coal to Ukraine

New Zealand coal producer, Solid Energy, has denied reports it may begin exporting coal to Ukraine to make up for the country’s shortfall in thermal coal.

Radio New Zealand reported that the Kiev government estimates it can produce enough coal to keep coal-fired power plants operating for just 50 more days, however, despite reports linking Ukraine with New Zealand coal, Solid Energy said New Zealand does not export thermal coal – a market which is “even more depressed that the metallurgical coal market”.

A Solid Energy spokesman said Ukraine would be more likely to import thermal coal from a closer source, because the cost of shipping such a long distance would outweigh the economic benefits.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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