Serbia mining: Kolubara mines basin; The floods, what was affected, chronology of recovery

, Mining

During the flood wave that affected Serbia in mid-May, MB “Kolubara” suffered a great damage. Two Tamnava OPMs were completely submerged: “West Field” and “Veliki Crljeni”, while Field “B” and Field “D”, open pit mines in the eastern part of the mining basin, were partially flooded.

The Kolubara river broke the embankment and rushed through the bed of the Vraničina tributary , and with all its power made a new bed over which it flowed into the Tamnava OPMs. Fields “Tamnava West Field” and “Veliki Crljeni”, which provided nearly two-thirds of the Kolubara coal production, were completely submerged.

– According to the assessments, 210 million cubic meters flowed into the area of “Tamnava West-Field”, and about 26 million cubic meters in the OPM “Veliki Crljeni”. In these two OPMs, almost all production equipment was submerged; in the “West Field” one ECS system (excavator-conveyor-spreader) remained non-submerged, located at the highest level and one spreader of the other ECS system was also saved.

-Works on lifting the embankment on the Kolubara river began immediately. After more than two days of continuous superhuman efforts, the embankment on the river Kolubara was raised and the water flowing into the Tamnava OPMs was stopped. At the point where the Kolubara river broke into a small local river, Vraničina and changed its course, the embankment was made of soil and stone of large grain-size distribution, thus preventing the water to enter Tamnava open pit mines and so the water was brought back into its old course.

-On 17th May – the Third phase of Dry Separation in the operational unit for coal processing in Vreoci was reactivated, and a day later, the conditions for the coal reception from OPMs were created.

– After creating the conditions, in the OPMs Field “B” and Field “D”, the systems for overburden production were put into operation.

– The tremendous efforts of employees finally yielded fruit and on 22nd May, the first excavated tons of coal from the Field “B” and the first compositions of 21 wagons were dispatched towards TPP “Nikola Tesla B”
-26th May – began the coal production on one of two coal systems in the Field “D”

-5th June – the second coal system in the Field “D” was put into operation- the conditions were made so that MB “ Kolubara” could start the production for the needs of thermal capacities and dispatch 45,000 million of tons of coal daily – which is half of average daily production under the normal conditions.

– Simultaneously with the activities of reactivating operational units and capacities that were partially flooded, operations on pumping the water out of the OPM “Veliki Crljeni” are in progress.

– Water pumping out started on 24th May, when the first six pumps owned by MB ”Kolubara” were turned on ; afterwards, other pumps (in the ownership of the company, as well as the pumps of the largest Serbian companies that donated us their pumps).

-At the moment, 33 pumps are working in total (MB “Kolubara”, Kostolac, “Vojvodina vode”, “Water Management of Novi Sad”, Majdanpek) and since the beginning of pumping out, the water level was reduced by about 5 (5.3) meters. Bucket wheel excavator (“Glodar 2”), which excavated coal, has been taken out to dry surface on 5th July, access roads were made for the approach of expert teams and rehabilitation of this excavator has begun. Simultaneously, the overhaul operations on the excavator and intensive and continuous water pumping out of this open pit mine continues.

– In OPM “Tamnava West Field” the employees, with tremendous effort, managed to pull out a piece of equipment that was not flooded and there was a danger that it could be affected. Investment overhaul was done on the bucket wheel excavator “Glodar 2000” and on the “Spreader 1” at the ECS system (excavator-conveyor-spreader) and the reconstruction of the production line has been finished, so on 5th July, the overburden production has started in this OPM.


– MB “Kolubara” is the largest coal producer in Serbia. Annually in four open pit mines of MB”Kolubara” about 30 million tons of coal was produced. Based on coal from MB “Kolubara” in TPP “Nikola Tesla” half of total amount of electricity production in the country was produced.

– In 2013 in “Kolubara” 30.7 million tons of coal was excavated, in Tamnava OPMs over 19 million tons of coal was produced (about 14.6 million in OPM “ Tamnava- West Field”), in the OPM Field “B” 2.7 million tons of lignite and in the OPM Field “D” 8.8 million tons.

– For thermal capacities, under the regular working conditions, 90,000 tons of coal were dispatched from MB “Kolubara”, and at the moment a half of regular production (45,000 tons) has been reached, after the inclusion of the OPM “Veliki Crljeni” additional 20,000 tons of coal per day is expected.
Source; RBK

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