Gacko Thermal Power Plant
The Gacko coal mine and thermal power plant are located in the south-eastern part of BiH near the town of Gacko. The mine and power plant have been built on the Gacko coal basin, which has a total reserve of approximately 400 million tonnes. The construction of the coal mine and power plant started in 1974 and the 300 MW unit was completed in February 1983. Both are owned and operated by Elektroprivreda Republika Srpska.
Coal in Gacko mining area is produced exclusively for the power plant and the annual production is 2,480,000 tons (year 2015). The coal produced in this area is lower in sulphur content than for example the one produced in Ugljevik, nevertheless the production of fly ash during combustion is very high and because of the content of atmospheric ash this area belongs to the most polluted areas in the country.
Quarrying in the Gacko basin happens in opencast mines. Several studies already proved negative impacts of opencast mining like severe soil erosion, soil acidification, consequently water acidification and degradation of the downstream aquatic ecosystems.
Due to insufficient reserves in existing pits the plant in Gacko halted the production of electricity since June. Recently it was planned to open a new surface pit with the aim of stable production of coal for the operation of the plant. Even though the opening of the new pit was positively assessed by members of the Assembly of the Gacko Municipality (in 2015), the pit is located near the city’s residential area. Any unwanted consequences, mostly dust that would jeopardize the lives of the inhabitants of Gacko, must be reduced to the lowest possible level that will not endanger lives.