(Bloomberg) — A global push to dig new mines for steelmaking coal is drawing warnings that a supply glut could push the industry from a boom to a bust, mirroring the brutal 5-year price slump that ended in 2016.
Coal’s use to generate electricity has declined precipitously in the U.S. despite a revival push by President Donald Trump. That’s left metallurgical coal as the only part of the industry still thriving, with strong global demand and barely-growing supply combining to double the seaborne price since 2016 to more than $210 a metric ton.
Earlier this week, Consol Energy Inc. joined at least five other miners from the U.S., the U.K. and Australia in planning major new projects. It’s an aggressive strategy that has some worried the industry may end up boosting output too much too quickly, just as consumption slows. If so, prices could crater.
“The supply-demand balance in the space is very tight,” said Scott Schier, an analyst at Clarksons Platou Securities Inc. The industry could handle one or two new projects, he said, but “if more and more tons start coming online, it would be concerning.”
Demand for met coal climbed 17 percent from 2015 through 2018, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. That helped soak up a glut that peaked in 2014 when global consumption of 284 million tons was outpaced with a total supply of 313 million tons.
For the rest of this article: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/world-s-coal-miners-may-be-digging-themselves-into-another-glut-1.1257168