Arcelor Mittal steel company and Banovici brown coal mine reached an agreement on the supply of this energy source, the company CEO Nikhil Mehta confirmed Friday after Zenica miners began a general strike Wednesday, leaving the residents of this central-Bosnian city without central heating, which is connected to the Arcelor Mittal steel plant.
“Since the last two or three days, we had a problem of non-availability of energy coal, which actually could jeopardize our production facilities, our assets as well as city heating. Already, the city heating has gone down and we are having stock for only two days. Today we had a discussion with Mr Nermin Djindjic (the Minister of Energy and Mining in Bosnia’s Federation entity) and with his support, we managed to find a source for energy coal,” Mehta said.
This means that Arcelor Mittal will be able to “go ahead with [coal mine] Banovici and get energy coal which would help us to get the increase in production as well as steam production and continue with the city heating, as well. This way it helps us to ensure that we are secure now with the availability of energy coal and we are very thankful to Mr Nermin Djindjic.”
The Arcelor Mittal CEO thanked the Energy Minister for his quick reaction saying it assured them that his Ministry cares for the industry.
When asked by N1 how come the company did not have stockpiles or a second coal supplier in case of o potential disruption of supply like this one, Mehta said: “the thing is that you know we going ahead with the [public heating company] Toplane Zenica and we are going to buy coal for the last season actually, now the remaining two months of the season – we did not expect that the brown coal mine Zenica would have such a problem knowing very well that it is under the umbrella of [Public Enterprise] Elektroprivreda BiH.”
He added that they talked with the Zenica coal mine and they assured them they would get the coal and they did for some time, but this information of non-availability of coal came as a surprise to them.
“We were not aware of their internal issues. We cannot be aware of their internal issues. But this is a lesson for us,” Mehta concluded.
Zenica coal miners began a hunger strike on Wednesday which turned into a general strike against the fact that the entity Taxation Authority had blocked the accounts of Zenica and Breza brown coal mines on December 13, 2020, due to unpaid taxes and contributions.
In order for the December salary to be paid, the Administration unblocked their accounts on January 22, but only for a day.
After blocking the accounts once more, the Zenica miners did not receive their compensation for a hot meal on February 5, after which they went on a strike on February 8.