Taking into account the estimates for the demand for coal, the volume ofcoal mining can reach 270m-285m tons in 2003, making up 103.8%-109.6% ofthe estimated level of coal miming in 2002, a report by the EconomicDevelopment and Trade Ministry of Russia, prepared for today's governmentmeeting, reads. It is pointed out in the report that a substantial rise in the volume ofcoal mining in accordance with the second development scenario implies anincrease in the percentage of coal in the total amount of fuel for powerplants to spare natural gas as well as the formation of a coal reservenecessary to cope with possible severe weather conditions during thewinter. The volume of coal mining in 2005 is estimated at 280m-305m (104.1-113.4%compared to the 2001 level). It is expected that this rise in the volume ofcoal mining will be due to an increase in the percentage of coal mined atthe safest and most economical open-cast mines, which is to reach 65% in2003 and 67% in 2005. The reconstruction and technical renovation of existing mines and open-castmines is to continue in the coal industry in 2003-2005, new mines will beconstructed, and the volumes of coal mining in Western and Eastern Siberiaand the Far East will grow. It is planned that the reconstruction ofexisting mines and construction of new ones, using modern coal mining andprocessing technologies, will allow for increasing the profitability andcompetitiveness of Russia's coal industry. .
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