On January 15, picketers of PJSC Lviv Mining Co. in Sokal raion, Lviv oblast, gathered in front of the Presidential Administration in Kyiv under the banners of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The miners demanded their back wages, pay increase in accordance with current legislation, a moratorium on the closure of the Lviv-Volyn Coal Basin, permit for the shipment of concentrate purchased from Volynvuhillia and coal supply to Zakhidenerho.
According to Lviv Mining Co.’s trade union committee, the miners have not been paid since October 2012, with the company being on the verge of bankruptcy and closure. In June 2012, they picketed the Lviv Regional State Administration, to no avail. “We will keep picketing the Presidential Administration until we receive one hundred percent guarantees that our demands will be fulfilled,” said the trade union committee’s spokesman, adding that the generating company DTEK Zakhidenerho is the only big-time consumer of coal in that western region of Ukraine, and that this company wants to buy coal from DTEK mines in the east of Ukraine.
Of course, the president is responsible for practically everything that takes place in this country. The question is: Why did the miners address their problems to the head of state and not the owners of the company (considering that the government interest in it constitutes a mere 37.58 percent)? The trade union committee stresses that Lviv Mining Co. owns the only Chervonohrad Coal Enrichment Plant in that western region. What prevents the owners from securing that mining business’s adequate performance? I believe this would allow coal supplies to the regional power plants and the problem of back wages would be solved without the president having to step in.
Yurii Ryzhenkov, DTEK executive director, told The Day that his company is prepared to buy and supply all quality coal to the DTEK power plants that Lviv Mining Co. can offer. In 2012, as many as 680.4 thousand tons of coal worth 569 million hryvnias were purchased, through DTEK Trading, from Volynvuhillia, Lvivvuhillia, and Nadia Mine for DTEK Zakhidenerho.
Says Ryzhenkov: “This year we can buy over 800,000 tons of coal from the Lviv suppliers if they can provide this much quality coal. In January we can buy about 72,000 tons – in other words, as much coal as Lviv’s companies can supply. And we will need more, considering that the Burshtynska Thermal Power Plant needs some 2.2 million tons and the Dobrotvorska one about 0.6 million tons a year to generate for exports.
He explains that the mining businesses in Lviv and Volyn oblasts are the most convenient ones in terms of logistics for the power plants in the West: “We treat problems relating to unstable employment and the bad technical condition of the Chervonohrad enrichment plant with understanding, considering that this facility handles coal delivered from the regional mines… It is necessary to take into account environmental requirements – I mean sulfur content. In Lviv-Volyn coal it exceeds two percent, which is higher than set standard, so this coal has to be mixed with low-sulfur fuel and this lowers the consumption rate.”
Past year, in an interview with a western Ukrainian periodical, Ryzhenkov stated: “We are willing to start a dialog and we count on a long-term collaboration with the enterprises of the Lviv-Volyn Coal Basin. This cooperation will be mutually advantageous. It is important for DTEK Zakhidenerho to have an additional coal supply source, especially during the fall-winter period when the power plants must have their stocks regularly replenished.”