Chinese firm interested in Montenegro’s Berane coal mine – report

An unnamed Chinese company is interested in buying the coal mine in Montenegro’s northeastern town of Berane, which has been idled for several years, local media reported. Representatives of the Chinese company have already visited Berane to hold talks about buying the mine but it is not clear at what stage the negotiations are, local authorities were quoted as saying by broadcaster RTCG over the weekend.

“It is about a serious company that has expressed interest in our mine. We hope that the further talks will result in a good decision,” the head of the mining company, Nikola Scekic, told RTCG.

The Berane coal mine, owned by Serbia-registered mining and steel company Metalfer, suspended production in March 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, the mine has been left without electricity since November 2022 due to a power substation breakdown, RTCG recalls.

In January, Montenegro’s energy ministry said it aims to resume production at the mine, pledging to conduct an economic analysis soon in order to decide on the optimal option for achieving this goal. Restarting production at the Berane coal mine would require new investments and strategic partners, so the government needs to first assess the existing and potential production capacities to decide on the next steps, energy minister Sasa Mujovic said back then. At its heyday, the Berane coal mine employed 150 workers and had a supply chain of 20 smaller firms, RTCG noted.