Coal has a great importance for Romania's economy - as coal-fired power plants produce almost 50% of the country's energy. It has geological reserves in 3 bln tons of coal and commercial reserves in 545 mln tons.
Most of the country's coal reserves are concentrated in three so-called "Coal Zones": Zone I (sub-Carpathian depression), Zone II (Oltenia), and Zone III (north-west Transylvania); 90% of the reserves are located in Zone II. 95% of the reserves are presented with lignite, and only 5% with bituminous coal.
At the Communist era Romania produced up to 60 mtpa of coal; in 1991-1999 it decreased to 22.5 mtpa in 1999, and then slightly grew, so now the country extracts 35-36 mtpa. 98% of production is presented with lignite, while bituminous coal holds only 2% in total production.
Romania doesn't export any significant volumes of coal, but imports bituminous coal and anthracite; about half of the coal import is presented with coking coal - to supply its coke-chemical facilities.
Three state-run coalminers provide 100% of coal production in the country; the largest of them - National Company of Lignite "Oltenia" S.A - provides 90% of the coal output; the second company also produces lignite, while the third one produces bituminous coal. 75% of coal production is done in open pit mines, and 25% in underground mines.