Ukraine coal producer idles key coal mines in rebel-held east
09 March 2017
Ukrainian coal producer DTEK Energy said on March 9 it had idled its largest mines in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists due to a blockade on rail traffic on the Ukrainian side of the eastern front line. The blockade by a group of Ukrainian politicians and military veterans has held up industrial shipments from rebel-held areas since early 2017.
In response to a question from Reuters on the status of its Komsomolets Donbassa mine in the separatist-held part of Donetsk region, DTEK Energy's press service said: "It's in idle mode."
Two of DTEK Energy's other mining operations in rebel-controlled territory, Rovenkyanthracite and Sverdlovanthracite, had also been idled, it said. The three mines produced about 9 million tonnes of coal in 2016, accounting for over 30 percent of DTEK Energy's total output.
Asked why DTEK Energy had stopped mining coal at these sites, the spokeswoman said: "Well, where can it be transported to?" She did not give further details, Reuters said.
Ukrainian authorities to warn of potential monthly economic losses of up to 4 billion hryvnias ($150 million) as long as the blockade remains in place, with power station closures and blackouts a possibility.
The trade squeeze has highlighted the complicated economic relationship between the two sides and represents a new phase in a periodically violent stand-off that has killed more than 10,000 people in the last three years.