The OKD mining company lost CZK 861 million in 2019 as its production volume fell by 1 million tons to 3.6 million tons of coal, iDNES reports.
According to the company, the losses are due to the decline in coal prices. “From $210 per tonne of coking coal, prices dropped to $140 per tonne during the year,” the daily said. The downward trend in prices continues this year as well.
“Steelmakers are reducing production to a minimum, world coking coal prices are constantly falling, the energy market is going through the biggest crisis in 70 years,” OKD Chairman Vanda Staňková wrote in the annual report.
The company was greatly affected by the methane explosion at the ČSM Mine, in which 13 miners died at the end of 2018. Mining is also affected by complex geological conditions. “Increasing degassing, cooling the environment, and other measures hinder us in increasing procedures and performance. Exceeding the permitted concentrations of methane or carbon monoxide in workplaces leads to the overall closure of the face. These risks accounted for 70 percent of the mining outage,” Staňková said.
The Czech government owns OKD through Prisko. The annual report added that OKD asked Prisko for CZK 1.2 billion due to its poor financial results. Prisko has so far responded by increasing its registered capital by CZK 600 million, and further assistance is being sought.
Due to the company’s unfortunate financial situation, there is talk that mining in all OKD mines should end at the end of 2021 or in 2022. According to the government, this should be decided in the fall, depending on coal prices.
OKD is the only producer of hard coal in the Czech Republic. The companies mines are in the Karviná region the ČSA, Darkov, ČSM-Sever and ČSM-Jih mines. OKD employs 8,000 people in the mines.