Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two autonomous regions: the Republic of Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. All political decisions are taken independently in each of the autonomous regions.
Lignite and hard coal have the biggest share in electricity production in Bosnia and Herzegovina, amounting to 88% in 2012.
In the north-eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we can find one of the largest lignite mining areas – Tuzla. In this area, there are also several power plants, including the largest power plant, Tuzla. Currently, there are plans to expand several opencast mines and lignite-fired power plants, including Tuzla, Banovici and Ugljevik.
Opencast lignite mines and power plants
Since 1800, the Tuzla region has been a major industrial center in southern Europe. The area is one of the largest suppliers of lignite to several power plants in the region, including the largest power plant Tuzla (715 MW). The power plant has six power units, which together use 330 thousand tons of lignite. All units are supplied by the Herek and Banovici mines. The power plant is owned and directed by the public electricity company Elektroprivreda BiH. The company plans to build a seventh unit – Tuzla 7, which will use coal from the Đurđevik and Banovici mines. Tuzla 7 should start in 2018. The investor has already been selected, but there are no permits and a contract has not yet been signed. For this reason, production will most likely start in 2019. Maximum production is planned for 2024.
Another lignite-fired power plant is Stanari. It was built by the Chinese company Dongfang Electric Corporation and is located near Doboj, in the Republic of Srpska. It has been under construction since the beginning of October 2014. The plan was to produce energy with a capacity of 420 MW, which was reduced to 300 MW, as it was deemed unprofitable.
The Banovici power plant (300 MW) located in the town of Banovici, in the region of Tuzla, is the next new investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The power plant has already received a building permit and the final realization of the investment is planned for 2018. The total estimated value of the project is 584 million Euros. It is expected that the power plant will be connected to the grid in 2020. The Banovici power plant will generate energy using lignite from the Banovici mine. The Banovici mine extracts lignite using the opencast method from three deposits: Čubrić, Turija and Grivice, and from one underground mine: Omazići. Lignite resources in Banovici are estimated at 208 million tons, making it one of the largest deposits in Europe and in the world. The mine, which is owned by RMU Banovici (Banovici Brown Coal Mines), has an annual production capacity amounting to 1.27 million tons of coal. RMU Banovici chose four companies for the final auction to finance and build new power plants. Three offers came from Chinese companies: Shanghai Electric Group Co., China Gezhouba Group, and Dongfang Electric Corp., and one is a consortium of the Spanish company Abengoa SA, which includes China Harbin Electric.
Another planned project in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the expansion of the Ugljevik III power plant, which is located near the town of Bijeljina, in the Republic of Srpska. The power plant will consist of two units with a total capacity of 600 MW and will use lignite from opencast mines in Delicia, Peljave-Tobut, Baljak and part of Ugljevik-Istok. There is already one unit of 300 MW which was established in 1985 and is located near the Ugljevik II power plant. Ugljevik II was never finished and, for many years, has been the subject of dispute between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.
There is also a new unit in Bosna and Herzegovina which is being built by the Chinese company China Power Engineering Consulting Group Corporation (CPECC) and is being promoted by a Russian billionaire – Rashid Rashid Sardarov’a of Sardarov’s COMSAR Energy. Representatives of the China Development Bank were present when the agreement between the CPECC and authorities of the Republic of Srpska was signed ,and they showed interest in financing the investment.