Hungary and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

There were eight coal mine companies in Hungary in 1990, but as of 2011 only a few are left in operation.[1]

The collapse of the Soviet Union forced a dramatic restructuring of the Hunagarian coal industry. Many of the smaller underground mines have closed while others were privatized. Approximately 90% of coal production is brown coal and lignite. The remaining coal mining is closely tied to coal-fired power generation. The International Energy Agency projects that domestic coal production will decline from 3.5 million tonnes in 2004 to approximately 2.52 million tonnes in 2020.[2] Any future expansion in coal-fired generation would be based on imported coal.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that "brown coal and lignite were mined, for the most part, to fuel the country’s thermal electric power stations. In 2005, the output of lignite declined by 4% compared with that of 2004; brown coal output declined by almost 43%. The output of bituminous coal ceased owing to exhaustion of reserves".[3]

Lignite from the Bukkabrany and the Visonta Mines is used in the Matra Power Station.[3] The output of another mine, which is subsidized by the Hungarian government, supplies the Vertes Power Station. The European Commission noted in 2005 that an additional "six minor open cast mines serving local markets." [4]

Energy Policy

Hungarian energy supply is dominated by a reliance on imports of gas and oil from Russia. For example, 80% of Hungary's gas is imported from Gazprom. With both domestic gas and oil production having peaked, dependence on imports is set to increase. The largest single contributor to Hungary electricity grid comes from the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, which supplies approximately one-third of the country's power. While the four units of the power station were scheduled for decommissioning between 2012 and 2017, in 2005 the Hungarian government decided to extend the life of the plant for another 20 years and expand the output of the station by 8% to 2040 megawatts. The Paks power station is owned and operated by the government-owned utility, MVM. MVN is the sole buyer and seller of electricity in Hungary.[5]

In a review of Hungarian energy policy, the International Energy Agency stated that "in the area of primary energy production, the substitution of coal by natural gas and renewable energy sources will proceed, including the closure of underground mines."[6] However, it anticipates that the construction of new power stations based on imported coal is "likely".[5]

The IEA also noted that while Hungary made a commitment to the European Union to generate 3.6% of its electricity from renewable power by 2010, it exceeded this target in 2005.[5]

Coal Reserves and Production

According to Budapest Business Journal, Hungary industry professionals estimate that the country has 10.6 billion tons of coal, 3.3 billion tons of which could be exploited economically. The annual output of coal mining is 9-10 million tons.[1]

Proposed Coal Mines

As of 2011, the company Calamites Kft has started trial operations in an open pit mine in Nagymányok, where there is reportedly more than 2 million tons of black coal buried underground.[1]

Proposed Coal-Fired Power Stations

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Patricia Fischer, "Coal ideas: the revival of Hungary’s mining industry – or not?" Budapest Business Journal, Oct. 27, 2011.
  2. International Energy Agency, [ Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Hu8ngary], International Energy Agency, page 28.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Walter G. Steblez, "The Mineral Industries of Central Europe: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia", 2005 Minerals Yearbook, U.S. Geological Survey, page 5.
  4. European Commission, "European Commission approves “coal package” authorizing restructuring plans for the Polish, German and Hungarian coal industry until 2010", Media Release, June 22, 2005.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 International Energy Agency, [ Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Hu8ngary], International Energy Agency, page 27.
  6. International Energy Agency, [ Energy Policies of IEA Countries: Hu8ngary], International Energy Agency, page 26.

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