Minor landslide at Serbian mine raises domestic power supply concerns

A minor landslide at a coal mine in the Serbian region of Kolubara has raised fears of energy supply shortages in the country as a result of diminishing coal reserves at the country’s Nikola Tesla power plant complex, Serbian media has reported.

Though the landslide was of limited scale compared to a respective event last weekend at Greece’s Amynteo facilities, Serbian energy authorities are concerned as coal reserves at the Nikola Tesla complex, the country’s biggest covering neary half of Serbia’s electricity needs, currently measure approximately 400,000 tons, well under a safety level of at least 1.5 millon tons, according to Serbian media.

Power utility EPS rejected the reports by noting coal reserves measure over one million tons. The utility also dismissed reports of a drop in the quality of coal being mined.

Besides claiming the country’s coal reserves are diminished, Serbian media is also reporting that the Kolubara mine has produced lignite of inferior quality in recent months. This is believed to have increased fuel consumption levels as oil is added to the coal mix when coal combustion levels are lower.

The developments have generated uncertainty as to whether EPS will be able to cover the country’s electricity needs without having to turn to costly imports during periods of peak demand.

Commenting just days ago, Milorad Grcid, managing director at EPS, assured that sufficient coal supply exists for electricity generation but did admit output at the Kolubara was 5.6 percent lower than planned. Coal and electricity prices would not rise, the official added.