Ukraine to close 1 in 3 coal mines, lay off half the coal miners



The Energy Ministry will close 12 mines and lay off large numbers of miners

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Demchishin is planning to lay off 20% of miners this year.

The Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry intends to close
five state-owned mines and to idle additional seven, said Minister Demchishin
in an interview with the journal “Focus”.

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“Out of 35 mines under our control, we will close 5, and
additional7 will be idled and preserved.”

He underscored that 20% of coal mine workforce will be
reduced. “That’s 10 thousand out of 52 thousand miners,” predicts Demchishin.

The people who will be laid off will be mainly retirees.

“Overall, we should have 25 thousand miners left in 2-3
years,” according to the minister.

The Ministry earlier planned to privatize 35 coal mines, and
to close 32 mines over the course of five years.

J.Hawk’s Comment: This is not going to go over well. These are hard but well-paying jobs, and the coal miners are a well-organized work force which is moreover concentrated in a few parts of the country.  The closure of the coal mines moreover will force Ukraine to procure coal from abroad. Its past attempts to do so resulted in supplies of expensive coal of sub-standard quality, so the closure of coal mines probably has less to do with Ukraine’s energy policy than with the need to meet IMF’s stringent requirements to reduce government spending and payrolls.

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