Russian coal found critical import dependence

Russia is ramping up coal production and exports in 2023, while maintaining an extremely high dependence on imported equipment. Coal companies have even developed a range of parts and accessories to keep it running.

“The Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have prepared a list of technical specifications of 78 positions for mining equipment, for which there is a critical dependence on imports. Currently, machine-building organizations are conducting research and development work for the further production of such equipment,” – Deputy Minister of Energy said at a meeting of the State Council Commission on Technological Sovereignty of the Coal Industry Sergey Mochalnikov. According to him, the manufactured equipment should have a technical readiness factor of at least 0.95 and a cost of ownership comparable to the best foreign models.

The minister suggested using the colossal experience of the companies themselves.

“It is important that coal companies take part in the preparation of design documentation and testing of the specified equipment. The enterprises have developed a range of more than 400 spare parts and components that are produced to support the operation of imported equipment. This is a colossal experience accumulated by coal companies and their machine-building divisions, which must be used to speed up the launch of all 78 technical tasks,” Sergey Mochalnikov said.

According to the deputy minister, coal production in Russia over the five months exceeded 162 million tons, exports – 83 million tons, which is 2% and 1.9% higher than the same period in 2022, respectively. At the same time, world coal prices are falling and, according to experts, exporters will have to trade at a near-profit margin for several years until more expensive American fuel and part of Australian coal leave the market.

In this situation, import substitution under the conditions of sanctions can be more than critical.

“Unfortunately, the coal industry is one of the leaders in the Russian fuel and energy complex in terms of the amount of foreign equipment used. For a long time, the share of imports in the coal industry, in comparison, for example, with the oil and gas complex, was hushed up, it was comfortable for mining companies to import equipment from the USA, Germany, Japan, Poland…”, – reported in January the agency “TEK-Rating”, after conducting a survey of companies in the coal industry. According to him, the most import-dependent positions (more than 75% of imports) for mining equipment are: bucket-wheel excavators (100%), diesel locomotives (99.6%), loaders for open mining (93%), shearers (80% ) and bulldozers (76%).

“The situation with import dependence on these positions can be regarded as critical. The least import-dependent positions (less than 25% of imports) for mining equipment are: belt conveyors (10.8%), scraper conveyors (6.6%), trolleys (0%) and pushers (0%), ”added to “TEK-Rating”.

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