Serbian state-owned power utility EPS confirmed that the explorations done so far have shown that the western part of the Kostolac coal basin has respectable exploitation quantities of lignite. The company said that the expansion of the Kostolac coal complex by opening of a new open-pit mine would be of great significance not just for the economic development of this area, but also for the overall energy stability of Serbia.
Deputy Director at Coal Production department of EPS Ivan Djukic said that, in the past years, EPS invested considerable funds in the exploration of the new site, which is officially named as Kostolac West. In March 2020, the Faculty of Mining and Geology in Belgrade completed the feasibility study for the exploitation of the site. The study defines the missing equipment, the dynamics of the opening of the mine and the moving of a part of the equipment from the existing Drmno coalmine to the end of balancing the production of overburden and coal at the open-mine pits Drmno and Kostolac West.
As the production at the Kostolac West coalmine increases, the production at the Drmno coalmine will decrease. The study has also shown that the Kostolac West site features around 350 million tons of coal and that large quantities of gravel are located above the coal layer. The exploitation reserves of gravel amount to 14,350,000 cubic meters, which, following the excavation, can be put on the market.
Djukic said that the investment in the opening of the new mine would amount to around 400 million euros.
Kostolac TPPs complex consists of two power plants – TPP Kostolac A (unit A1 and unit A2) and TPP Kostolac B (unit B1 and B2), including Drmno mine which supplies coal for all units. Construction of 350 MW unit B3 is currently ongoing.