Coal has a large importance for Bulgaria's economy - as coal-fired power plants produce about 45% of the country's energy. It has geological reserves in 3 bln tons of lignite and sub-bituminous coal.
Most of Bulgaria's coal is concentrated in Maritsa Iztok lignite basin; lignite and sub-bituminous coal reserves are also presented with Marbas, Chukurovo, Bobov Dol, Pernik, and Beli Breg coalfields.
Currently 100% of lignite is being extracted in surface (open pit) mines, while few underground mines produce sub-bituminous coal.
At the Communist era Bulgaria produced about 25 mtpa of coal; the coal production grew slowly in 1991-1998, reaching 30 mtpa in 1998, and then it was more or less stable.
Currently Bulgaria produces 28-30 mtpa of coal - that is exclusively used domestically; the country doesn't export steam coal but imports anthracite from Ukraine and Russia.
Prior to 2009 Bulgaria imported about 2 mtpa of coking coal for its coke-chemical plants. After shutdown of the country's largest coke-chemical facility in Kremikovtzi steel mill at May 2009 the demand for coking coal decreased, being replaced with metallurgical coke import.