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Australian coal for fuel-hungry Ukraine reaches Mariupol port

November 21, 2014, 5:49 UTC+3 KIEV

Ukraine is facing deficit of certain types of coal as a result of warfare in Donbass, where coal was produced

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KIEV, November 21. /TASS/. A total of 36,000 tonnes of coal from Australia have reached the port city of Mariupol in Ukraine’s embattled Donetsk region, the press service of the city council reports on Thursday.

The Hebei Tangshan bulk cargo ship has delivered 36,000 tonnes of coking coal for local metallurgical plants, the report said.

Ukraine is facing deficit of certain types of coal as a result of warfare in Donbass (the Donetsk and Luhansk regions), where coal of these brands was produced and where there is about 2 million metric tonnes of such coal at state mine depots. According to the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry, the import requirements for these brands total 1 million tonnes a month.

At the moment, Ukraine is buying coal from South Africa at the price of 86 dollars per tonne, but when coal reaches Ukraine the price grows to about 110 dollars per tonne due to transport and other costs.

Last week, Ukrainian Minister for Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan said Ukraine had no other choice at the moment but to buy coal from Russia or in Donbass, where militias control the situation.

He said South Africa had refused to make further coal supplies to Ukraine and it would take at least a month-and-a-half to sign a new contract. “The situation with coal supplies is menacing. The energy security of the country is at threat. We have no other choice but to resort to Russian suppliers and buy coal there,” the minister said.

Aging coal-fired power plants, fed in the past by fuel from Ukraine's coal-rich but now battle-torn Donetsk region, may need massive investment to burn fuel arriving from different sources - at a higher cost, Russian coal industry experts warned earlier.

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