The Seminar was delivered within the framework of the Ninth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, held in Kyiv, Ukraine, on 12-15 November 2018
The intention of the session was to discuss the future of the Ukrainian mining sector and the challenges that it faces. It was designed as a fact-finding mission assessing methane related problems in Ukrainian coal mines and the potential for development of the coal mine methane (CMM) projects in the country.
The session was opened by the Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Ms. Julia Pidkomorna, who emphasised the high interest of the Ministry in coal mine methane capture and utilization. She argued that methane, which in the mining context has been traditionally perceived only as a threat, should also be recognized as a valuable energy resource and treated in a way that reflects the great potential that lies in it.
During the three-hour long event eight presentations were delivered. They address a large number of important issues ranging from the theoretical foundations and basic tenets of best practices in methane capture and use developed by the UNECE Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane (CMM), to very practical aspects of CMM projects’ financing and development.
In the context of the former, a difference between the “principle-based” and the “strict manual” approaches was discussed. Mr. Raymond Pilcher, the Chair of the UNECE Group of Experts on CMM, and Mr. Neil Butler, the Technical Director at the HEL-East Ltd, explained the rationale for, and the intended application of the measures in question and presented the benefits that adherence to the advocated principles is to deliver.
As for the latter, two presentations were delivered by Ms. Meredydd Evans, a Senior Staff Scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute in the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Mr. Clark Talkington, the Vice President of the Advanced Resources International (ARI), focusing, respectively, on the policies that provide a solid foundation for the development of the projects, and on the economic aspect of the matter.
Mr. Igor Yashchenko, the Deputy Director of the Department of Industrial Safety and Physical Protection at the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, Mr. Vadym Miroshnychenko, the Head of the Ventilation and Degassing Unit of the Technical Development Department of the Coal Production Directorate at DTEK Energy, and Mr. Vyacheslav Lykinov, the Leading Researcher at the Institute of Geotechnical Mechanics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine delivered presentations on the current state of the Ukrainian mining sector, the ongoing activities, and the challenges that it faces, giving a particular focus to CMM, and discussing the Ukrainian mines’ characteristic in terms of the gas content, the relevant regulations, as well as the existing and prospective projects for the degassing and utilization of methane.
Mr. Andrey Garanin, an expert with an extensive experience of working in the coal sector in Ukraine, brought the investors’ perspective to the discussion, and provided an overview of obstacles and difficulties that to a greater or a lesser extent discourage foreign companies from engaging in CMM projects’ development in the country.
At the end of the event a discussion on the way forward and the perspectives for the coal mining industry in Ukraine was held, featuring a presentation by Mr. Nazar Kholod, a Scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, addressing the issue of the correlation between future coal production, mining depth, and methane emissions.
The session closed with the invitation that the Ukrainian Government extended to the UNECE Group of Experts on CMM to organize a workshop in the country in 2019, potentially within the framework of the 3rd conference on "Trends and Prospects for Coal Mining and Utilization in Ukraine and the World" that is tentatively scheduled for 12-15 June 2019.