KIEV, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine's coal mining industry returned to growth in 2016 after three consecutive years of contraction, local media reported Wednesday, citing the Coal and Energy Ministry's data.
According to the ministry, Ukraine boosted its coal output by 2.8 percent last year to 40.9 million tons.
In particular, the production of thermal coal increased by 3.4 percent to 32.5 million tons, while coking coal output was up 0.4 percent to 8.4 million tons.
Ukraine coal industry plunged into crisis in 2013, shrinking 2.6 percent in the course of the year, due to weaker global demand.
The turmoil has significantly deepened in the two following years on the back of the conflict between government troops and pro-independence insurgents in Lugansk and Donetsk regions, the country's mining heartland.
Ukraine's coal output fell by 38.8 percent in 2015 after contracting 22 percent a year before.
As the result of the crisis, Ukraine, which used to be one of Europe's largest coal makers, producing about 80 million tons of coal per year, turned into a coal importer.
In 2016, Ukraine has imported 15.6 million tons of coal to ensure the functioning of its coal-fired power plants. Enditem