Slovakia: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Slovakia
Overview of Resources
Metals
Fossil Fuels
Investment
Sources

Welcome to Slovakia

Slovakia is located to the south of Poland in Central Europe. The total area of the country is 49,035 km2, and it has a population of 5,483,088 as of July 2012. The country’s climate is mostly temperate.

The national flag of Slovakia.
Image Credit: CIA Factbook.

Slovakia was part of former Czechoslovakia, which was a Communist nation during the years of Soviet dominion in Eastern Europe. After the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1989, Czechoslovakia moved away from Communist ideals. On 1 January 1993, Slovakia and Czech Republic were formed after a peace agreement between two ethnic groups.

As an independent nation, Slovakia became a member of NATO and the EU in 2004 and 2009, respectively. The country launched several significant economic reforms to improve the standard of the nation. The government has been open to foreign investment by implementing transparent commercial policies. Although the country has corruption and unemployment issues, the GDP of Slovakia in 2011 was $126.9 billion.

The natural resources of Slovakia are mainly brown coal and lignite with small quantities of iron ore, copper and manganese ore as well. The mining sector has not made any significant contribution in mineral production in the recent years.

Overview of Resources

In 2010, the production of mineral commodities in Slovakia increased due to the increased demand among Slovakia’s chief trading partners.

The mining sector’s output in 2010 is as follows:

  • Ferrosilicon increased by 640%
  • Gold increased by 54.3%
  • Copper increased by 35.3%
  • Steel increased by 22.2%
  • Pig iron increased by 20.9%
  • Primary aluminum increased by 8.9%
  • Coal decreased by 7.5%
  • Cement decreased by 4.4%
  • Dolomite decreased by 1.4%

In that year, Slovakia imported 139,200 bbl/d of crude petroleum and 6.4 billion m3 of natural gas.

The map of Slovakia. Image Credit: CIA Factbook

Metals

In 2009, Tournigan Energy Ltd. struck a deal with Ortac Resources plc of UK for the sale of its Kremnica gold exploration project. Later in 2010, Ortac Resources signed another agreement that buys 80% of shares in the Kremnica project.

Fossil Fuels

The Ministry of Economy states that due to rigorous restructuring operations in the coal sector of Slovakia, production of coal is likely to be affected for the next 10 years. The Ministry predicts that in 2015 production would be about 2 million Mt, in 2025 about 1.5 Mt, and in 2030 about 1 Mt.

Hornonitrianske Banke Prievidza is Slovakia's top brown coal producer.

The coal mine at Handlova is estimated to produce about 300,000 Mt/yr until 2020, following which it was scheduled to be closed. Similarly, the HBP Mine at Novaky is estimated to produce 1.2 Mt in 2015 and 2020, 1 Mt in 2025, and 0.5 Mt in 2030, following which it would be closed.

Investment

Some of the benefits for foreign investors in Slovakia are as follows:

  • Low taxes
  • No dividend taxes
  • Inexpensive and skilled labor
  • Comparatively liberal labor code
  • Strategic geographical location

The government is keen on promoting its coal industry, as the country is low in primary energy resources. About 86% of energy resources are imported every year. However, the coal sector had a major setback in August 2009 when a brown coal or lignite mine explosion and fire in Handlova, central Slovakia, killed six miners.

In October 2012, Greenpeace activists protested against coal mining in Upper Nitra. The activists want the funds diverted from this project and used for promoting green projects, and public infrastructure. They believe that the mine will cause health hazards to the locals and pollute the environment.

Mining experts predict that there will not to be any major change or increase in Slovakia’s mineral commodities production in the coming years. The country will continue relying on metallic ores and concentrates as well as mineral fuels imports for its domestic needs.

Disclaimer: The Author of this article does not imply any investment recommendation and some content is speculative in nature. The Author is not affiliated in any way with any companies mentioned and all statistical information is publically available.

Sources

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/country/2010/myb3-2010-lo.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/lo.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/slovakia/6007360/Slovakia-mine-explosion-20-feared-dead.html

http://www.parlamentnykurier.sk/argentina/46.pdf

http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/47990/10/greenpeace_protests_against_coal_mining_in_upper_nitra.html

G.P. Thomas

Written by

G.P. Thomas

Gary graduated from the University of Manchester with a first-class honours degree in Geochemistry and a Masters in Earth Sciences. After working in the Australian mining industry, Gary decided to hang up his geology boots and turn his hand to writing. When he isn't developing topical and informative content, Gary can usually be found playing his beloved guitar, or watching Aston Villa FC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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