Russia should boost labor productivity in its coal industry fivefold by 2030, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said late on Monday at a meeting in the country’s coal heartland of Kemerovo.
“Labor productivity has also changed radically. In principle, we have the potential to boost labor productivity virtually by five times by 2030,” Medvedev said.
Today, the backbone of the Russian coal industry is comprised of successful private companies, which mostly invest using their own cash or loans. A total of 90 billion rubles ($3 billion) was invested in the coal industry in 2011, Medvedev said.
Coal output in Russia rose from 232 million tons in 1998 to 336 million tons in 2011, the premier said.
The main problems impeding development of the Russian coal industry are worn-out fixed assets, use of outdated technologies and poor rail infrastructure, Medvedev said.
Russia must modernize its coal mines and infrastructure, which requires government incentives for coal companies to use new technology, the premier said.
There were heated debates in the 1990s about the paths for the Russian coal industry’s development. Many believed the sector was ineffective and there was no need to maintain it, the premier said.
“This was an erroneous point of view,” Medvedev said.