Kyrgyzstan produced 39,000 tons of coal in the first four months of 2003, down 40% from the same period last year, Kartaibek Mukambetov, general director of state company Komur, the country's main coal producer, told Interfax.
He said coal is being produced only at deep mines, while tens of thousands of tons of coal mined earlier are sitting at the Sulyukte, Kyzyl-Kie, Zhergalane and other open-pit mines.
The main reasons for the decline in production are the virtual absence of a domestic market for coal, as well as rehabilitation of the Ak-Ulak pit, Mukambetov said.
He also said Komur's negotiations to supply coal to Uzbekistan were unsuccessful, and this issue has not yet been discussed at the government level.
At the beginning of this year, Komur had planned to increase coal production by 18% to 525,000 tons in 2003, from 428,000 tons last year. Kyrgyzstan as a whole had been expected to increase output to 700,000 tons, from 515,000 tons in 2002.
Interfax, May 30, 2003