Ukraine will have to move forward with privatization of its coal mining industry as soon as possible to increase coal production and satisfy the needs of the national economy, the country’s energy minister, Yury Boyko, said on Wednesday.
The coal mining industry in Ukraine is highly inefficient due to outdated machinery and the depth of its mines. It has depended for years on large state subsidies.
“We are facing [further] privatization of the coal industry because we realize that we cannot significantly increase coal production through subsidies from the state budget,” Boyko said at a conference on Ukraine’s energy policy in Kiev.
The minister said privatization would be carried out under control by the state and backed by appropriate legislation.
Coal reserves in Ukraine total 117.5 billion metric tons. Coal mining fell over the past few years from 80.3 million tons in 2006 to 70.4 million tons in 2009.
Currently about 45% of coal in Ukraine is being produced at privately owned mines. The new privatization wave could involve about 100 coal mining enterprises.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said last year that the government expected to increase annual coal production to over 90 mln tons by 2015.
KIEV, April 20 (RIA Novosti)