Archive | Coal

Opinion: HD Mining allowed temporary foreign workers while Canadian miners are unemployed – by Brian Cochrane and Manuel Alvernaz (Vancouver Sun – February 19, 2018)

Brian Cochrane is business manager at the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115; Manuel Alvernaz is business manager at the Construction And Specialized Workers’ Union, Local 1611.

Normally, when someone gets a lump of coal at Christmas, they are very unhappy about being recognized for their bad behaviour.

But not if they are a controversial coal mining company that was previously in deep trouble for hiring Chinese-speaking Temporary Foreign Workers for its coal mine near Tumbler Ridge in northeast B.C.

HD Mining created such a firestorm that the then-Conservative federal government of Stephen Harper had to make major changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program that had allowed 338,000 non-Canadians get jobs in our country. Continue Reading →

Adani scouts world for coal – by John McCarthy (Mackay Daily Mercury – February 16, 2018)

ADANI is scouting the world looking for coal as its Carmichael megamine in Central Queensland remains without financing and facing a growing tide of environmental and political opposition.

Tensions between the State Government and the industry are also increasing after the rejection this week of environmental approval for the Acland coal mine expansion.

The decision has cost the company $158million so far as investors have sold off the stock in the past two days. Adani said yesterday the search was not for a replacement for the Carmichael, which would become one of the world’s biggest coal mines if it ever reached the original proposal. Continue Reading →

Teck sees strong demand for steelmaking coal in 2018 – by Susan Taylor (Reuters Canada – February 14, 2018)

TORONTO (Reuters) – Teck Resources Ltd, the world’s second-biggest exporter of steelmaking coal, said on Wednesday that growing global steel production is expected to boost demand for its coal in 2018, though coal trade competition will also likely rise.

Vancouver-based Teck, which also mines copper, zinc, gold and oil sands, said it is “feeling pretty good about 2018” after reporting in-line financial results.

“Most of us forget what this feels like, but it’s certainly very good for commodity markets, and they are now demand driven, rather than supply driven,” Chief Executive Don Lindsay said on a conference call. Continue Reading →

Coal to remain prominent as India’s power demand grows: Coaltrans speakers ( – February 14, 2018)

India’s coal demand is expected to stay high with electricity generation capacity forecast to grow, speakers at the Coaltrans India Conference in Goa said Tuesday.

The power electricity demand and generation is expected to grow by between 5% and 10% from current levels over the next few years, said Vipul Tuli, chief executive and country head of Sembcorp India.

“The country is electrifying at a good rate with a lot of focus now on household electrification,” Tuli said, adding that power generation could increase at the rate of 10 GW to 25 GW in the medium term above the current capacity of 200 GW. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Coal jobs won’t come back – but there are other ways to help coal country – by Jason Walsh (Reuters U.S. – February 13, 2018)

It was always obvious that Donald Trump would never be able to keep his promise – made both as candidate and president – that he would bring coal jobs back to battered mining communities.

Despite a long-standing campaign by the coal industry to blame the industry’s decline on President Obama’s environmental policies, the primary drivers of that decline have been economic, the most important being the low cost of natural gas.

Nonetheless, Trump made his pledge to coal country. And it found a receptive audience, particularly in Appalachia, where the industry’s collapse has resulted in severe economic hardship. Continue Reading →

Rail fight threatens coal giants’ Australian exports – by Sonali Paul (Reuters U.S. – February 12, 2018)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s top coal hauler, Aurizon Holdings Ltd, is on course for a showdown with the world’s biggest coal exporters after a regulator capped the revenue it can charge at A$1 billion ($783 million) less than the company sought.

BHP Billiton, Glencore, Anglo American, Peabody Energy and others face cuts of nearly a tenth of their coal export volumes from Queensland state, the country’s biggest coal exporter, after Aurizon said the tough revenue cap would cut throughput on its network.

The expected drop in coal traffic would be worse than last year’s losses after Cyclone Debbie, which cut exports by 16 million tonnes and sent prices for metallurgical coal, used in steel-making, skyrocketing. Continue Reading →

Mining investment crossroads – Editorial (The Australian – February 12, 2018)

The Greens’ irrationality in regard to energy production and mining is beyond redemption. The Labor Party, however, which purports to be the workers’ party, should heed Resources Minister Matt Canavan’s pertinent warning that Australia’s energy markets in Asia are under threat as the US ramps up coal and gas exports.

The US, a net energy importer for 40 years, will be a net exporter by 2022 after ending what Donald Trump branded in his State of the Union address “the war on beautiful, clean coal’’ . The US exports shale gas to Japan and Asian buyers are interested in US coal.

Influenced by anti-fossil fuel activists, especially in the Melbourne seat of Batman where it is struggling to hold off the Greens, Labor is casting increasing doubt over the $16.5 billion Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Labor has also barred new gas developments in several states. Continue Reading →

China gives new incentives to boost high-quality coal capacity (Reuters U.S. – February 9, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China plans to increase high-quality coal supply by allowing mines to boost capacity if they shut outdated production processes, the latest effort by authorities to further streamline the industry and stabilize coal prices.

Coal companies will be encouraged to close inefficient and polluting mines and replace them with larger ones if they meet certain standards, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on Friday.

Companies that agree to sign long-term contracts with power plants or to set up joint ventures with power companies will be allowed to expand their capacity by 130 percent to 300 percent. Continue Reading →

North Korea eludes coal export ban via Vietnam – by Bertil Lintner (Asia Times – February 8, 2018)

Shipping records show a steady stream of North Korean coal shipments to Vietnam’s Cam Pha port, from where the fuel is likely re-exported in violation of UN sanctions

To carry coal to Newcastle is an old English idiom meaning to do something that’s obviously superfluous, as the northeastern English city is renowned for its coal-mining.

But the saying has new meaning in Southeast Asia’s context as security analysts in the region have recorded frequent arrivals of North Korean ships loaded with coal to the north Vietnamese port city of Cam Pha, in northern Quang Ninh province bordering China, from where coal is generally exported not imported.

Vietnam is a leading supplier of coal in the Asia-Pacific region and there would seemingly be no need for the country to import coal from North Korea. Continue Reading →

China Wealth Fund Joins Fray for $2 Billion Rio Portfolio (Bloomberg News – February 8, 2018)

The Chinese sovereign wealth fund is considering joining the bidding for Rio Tinto Group’s last remaining coal mines, which may fetch more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

China Investment Corp. is discussing making a joint offer with Australian private equity firm EMR Capital Advisors Pty, which was among shortlisted bidders for the Hail Creek and Kestrel mines, according to the people.

Suitors are scheduled to make site visits to the operations in Australia’s Queensland state this month ahead of the final bid deadline in March, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Continue Reading →

Chinese steelmaking sparks mini-revival for ailing coal industry – by Josh Siegel (Washington Examiner – February 6, 2018)

Consol Energy saw a record year at its coal export terminal in Baltimore in 2017, serving ships bound for Asia and Europe. The company mined some of the coal itself from its three sites in southwestern Pennsylvania, mostly in the form of traditional thermal — or steam — coal, used for electricity generation.

But much of the coal came from other U.S. companies mining lesser-known metallurgical — or coking — coal, the high-temperature type used in steelmaking. It’s this type of coal, marked for export, that sparked a mini-revival for the downtrodden industry last year.

“We expect globally coal will continue to be cost-effective and prevalent,” said Jim McCaffrey, Consol’s senior vice president of marketing, in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “We will see some lumpy years. No doubt about that. But our cost picture puts us in a great position to ride out bad times and enjoy the good times.” Continue Reading →

Black Lung Study Finds Biggest Cluster Ever Of Fatal Coal Miners’ Disease – by Howard Berkes and Adelina Lancianese (National Public Radio – February 6, 2018)

Epidemiologists at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health say they’ve identified the largest cluster of advanced black lung disease ever reported, a cluster that was first uncovered by NPR 14 months ago.

In a research letter published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIOSH confirms 416 cases of progressive massive fibrosis or complicated black lung in three clinics in central Appalachia from 2013 to 2017.

“This is the largest cluster of progressive massive fibrosis ever reported in the scientific literature,” says Scott Laney, a NIOSH epidemiologist involved in the study. “We’ve gone from having nearly eradicated PMF in the mid-1990s to the highest concentration of cases that anyone has ever seen,” he said. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-South African coal loses Europe, but gains South Asia – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – February 4, 2018)

CAPE TOWN, Feb 5 (Reuters) – A decade ago South Africa sent the bulk of its coal exports to Europe, a market now disappearing right before its eyes.

But far from being worried, South Africa’s coal exporters are confident that they can increase shipments in coming years by becoming the supplier of choice to new markets in Asia, particularly Pakistan and India.

The common theme among speakers at last week’s South African Coal Export Conference, hosted by IHS Markit, was that South Africa is in pole position to take advantage of growth in South Asia. Continue Reading →

In the shadow of oil, coal markets rise from the ashes – by Henning Gloystein and Sonali Paul (Reuters U.K. – February 1, 2018)

SINGAPORE/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Far from entering the death throes predicted by some environmentalists and analysts, thermal coal miners are enjoying their best returns in years as strong Asian demand and tight supplies send prices soaring.

Chinese thermal coal futures hit a record of 687 yuan ($108.49) this week, up five-fold from their 2016 lows. Coal cargo prices from Australia’s Newcastle terminal, meanwhile, have roughly doubled since 2016 lows to over $100 per tonne, not far off 2011/2012 levels.

“The coal price improvement has thrown into stark relief the robustness of underlying demand in Asia,” Paul Flynn, chief executive of Australian miner Whitehaven Coal, told Reuters. “This had been masked until recent times by the surplus of capacity constructed during the last cycle. This period has now passed.” Continue Reading →

Teck Resources says it will be weeks before Elkview coal mine dryer is fixed – Canadian Press (CBC News B.C. – January 25, 2018)

Vancouver-based company says work is ongoing to assess extent of damage and impact on production

Teck Resources Ltd. says it will take four to six weeks to repair damage at its coal drying complex at its Elkview mine in B.C., following a “significant pressure event” earlier this month.

The incident was described by a union executive as an explosion that workers said resulted in a “fireball” shooting through vents in the sides and roof of the building.

Vancouver-based Teck says repairs will cost less than $10 million and expects lost production to amount to about 200,000 tonnes of clean coal. It says Elkview is producing higher moisture steelmaking coals at approximately 80 per cent of planned production levels. Continue Reading →