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KIEV, February 9. /TASS/. Kiev plans to buy no more coal in South Africa, Ukraine’s Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Vladimir Demchishin said on Tuesday.
"We don’t plan to buy any longer," he told journalists.
The last batch of about 80,000 tons of South African coal arrived in the Black Sea port city of Odessa on February 6.
In late September 2015, Ukraine’s Centrenergo signed a contract with Switzerland’s trader Mercuria Energy Trading S.A. for anthracite coal supplies from South Africa.
Ukraine was forced to buy coal from South Africa due to the shortage of domestically produced coal. Apart from that, anthracite coal supplies from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) were suspended for some period of time over Ukraine’s energy blockade of Crimea. In December 2015, Russia resumed coal exports to Ukraine after Kiev partially resumed electricity supplies to Crimea. The DPR authorities also decided to resume coal supplies to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, experts said South African coal was too expensive for Ukraine and did not fit its thermal plants. Thus, according to chief of Ukraine’s miners trade union Mikhail Volynets, the cost a ton of South African coal is 1,800 hryvnias (about 69.8 U.S. dollars under the current exchange rate), whereas coal extracted in Donbass costs 1,100 hryvnias (about 42.6 U.S. dollars) per ton. He also said there were questions to the quality of South African coal, since its heating output was only 5,000 kilocalorie and could not be used by Ukrainian heat plants.