Tajik coal-mining enterprises produced more than 1.7 million tons of coal last year, which is more than 300,000 tons more than in 2016, according to the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies (MoINT).
“It is the largest amount of coal ever produced in Tajikistan,” an official source at a MoINT told Asia-Plus in an interview.
Over the report period, Fon-Yagnob, TALCO-Resource LTD, Industrial Enterprise Ziddi and Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC) Angisht produced totaling 1.5 million tons of coal and the remaining 200,000 tons were produced by twelve other coal-mining enterprises, the source added.
Since 2007, more than more than 160 industrial enterprises in Tajikistan have been shifted to coal and 230 coal-fired enterprises now operate in the country.
Exploration and development of coal fields has been intensified in Tajikistan since 2012 when Uzbekistan stopped gas shipments to Tajikistan.
In 2014, coal production amounted to 870,000 tons, in 2015 – already 1 million tons. In 2016, the volume of coal production in Tajikistan increased by another 30% reaching nearly 1.4 million tons.
The Coal Mining in the EDB Countries
survey released by the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) on September 7, 2017, says, “For Tajikistan, the coal being produced in the country is an energy raw material and it will be hard to replace it by alternative energies in the foreseeable future.”
The survey, in particular, notes that during the period from 2012 to 2016, average annual growth rates were approximately 44 percent. “Over the first six months of this year, average annual growth rates have been estimated at 20.6 percent (up to 541,000 tons). In the medium term, the government intends to essentially increase production capacity of coal mining in order to meet internal requirements in cola and provide export of coal,” EDB experts stressed.
They say the coal mining in Tajikistan has vast prospects for further development.
According to EDB experts, Tajikistan’s possible coal reserves are estimated at least 4.3 billion tons.
Meanwhile, Tajik ecologists express concern about increase in production of cola in the country.
The Government of Tajikistan intends to expand coal production in the country by 2020 and invest considerable funds in the infrastructure associated with this type of fossil fuel. Local environmental organizations opposed such plans and pointed out that this is fundamentally contrary to the international commitments undertaken by the country under the Paris Agreement.
“Tajikistan is one of the most vulnerable countries in the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia region and is already experiencing significant negative effects of climate change. It is in the country’s interest not only to insist on tougher goals to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, but also to do everything possible to combat climate change at the national level. The large-scale development of the coal industry contradicts the principles of the existing national climate policy and international efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels,” – the Tajik NGO network on climate change said in a statement released on August 10 last year.