Archive | Coal

Black Lung and COVID-19 in Appalachia: A Lethal Mix – by Staff (Nature World News – April 6, 2020)

https://www.natureworldnews.com/

Black lung is prevalent in Appalachia. Vulnerable coal miners are wary that the rapid spread and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 can easily wipe their community out.

Jimmy Moore, a 74-year old black lung patient in Shelby Gap, Kentucky, does not know when the coronavirus gets to their area. However, if it does, ” It’s probably just going to wipe us out.” he said. Moore worked in the mines for 22 years and retired in 2000. His 51-year-old son also has a more severe case of black lung.

Two workers in Pennsylvania were tested positive for the coronavirus. The population has an increased risk of getting COVID-19 due to those already inflicted with a black lung. Continue Reading →

Britain set to decide on new coal mine this month – developer – by Susanna Twidale (Reuters U.K. – April 1, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Banks Mining said it expects an end this month to its near four-year wait to see whether it can develop a coal mine in northeastern England, after it received a letter from the government department responsible outlining its time frame.

Northumberland County Council agreed in 2016 that the developer, a division of The Banks Group, could extract 3 million tonnes of coal by cutting an open cast, or surface, mine near Druridge Bay, Highthorn.

But the local government minister at the time, Sajid Javid, rejected the application following a public inquiry, saying the proposal could hamper the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change. Continue Reading →

Ex-Coal Man Flips the Script By Rallying Appalachians to Plant 187 Million Trees on Abandoned Mines – by Andy Corbley (Good News Network – March 30, 2020)

Good News, Inspiring, Positive Stories

Although the Appalachian Mountains are often only thought of as coal country, the ecosystem as a whole is one of the richest and most biodiverse seasonal deciduous forests on earth.

In addition to the mountains boasting rich populations of freshwater mussels, a corridor for migratory birds, and more species of salamanders than any other range, Appalachia is also home to National Parks like the Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee—a park that may have as many as 100,000 species just on its own.

However, Appalachia also has a darker, decades-long history of toxic coal-mining tactics such as mountaintop removal, surface reclamation, and blasting and tunneling that had done almost irreparable damage to local ecosystems, leaving hundreds of barren and bald hills throughout eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Continue Reading →

Owners of Cape Breton’s Donkin coal mine permanently close underground operation – by Canadian Press (Victoria Times Colonist – March 30, 2020)

https://www.timescolonist.com/

DONKIN, N.S. — A troubled underground coal mining operation in Cape Breton has been permanently closed by its In a statement released Monday, Kameron Collieries ULC said it was ceasing production operations at the Donkin mine due to “adverse geologic conditions.”

The company said the mine would not be sealed and would be maintained by a small staff to ventilate the facility and keep it free of water.

“The mine has been closed,” company spokesman Paul McEachern confirmed in an interview. “There are no plans forthcoming to extract more coal from Donkin.” In its statement, Kameron Collieries expressed disappointment at the turn of events for a mine that had only begun operations in February 2017. Continue Reading →

Coal mining allowed under Sydney water reservoir for first time in 20 years – by Peter Hannam (Sydney Morning Herald – March 29, 2020)

https://www.smh.com.au/

The Berejiklian government has given the nod for the extension of coal mining under one of Greater Sydney’s reservoirs, the first such approval in two decades.

The Planning Department earlier this month told Peabody Energy it could proceed with the extraction of coal from three new longwalls, two of which will go beneath Woronora reservoir.

Planning Department official Mike Young says in a letter dated March 16 to Metropolitan mine that as the longwall will be the first to go under the reservoir it was important the extraction plan was “sufficiently robust” with “an appropriate adaptive management regime” to limit the impact of subsidence on water supply. Continue Reading →

Pandemic could be final nail in US coal industry coffin – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – March 30, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

The spreading coronavirus pandemic may too heavy of a burden for the already struggling coal miners in the United States, with three companies announcing operations halts due to measures to contain the spread of the disease.

Australia’s Coronado Global Resources (ASX: CRN) announced on Sunday it had idled its US thermal and metallurgical coal mines due to covid-19-induced global economic downturn.

The company, which operates the Buchanan, Logan and Greenbrier mine complexes in Virginia and West Virginia, will keep its Curragh mine in Australia open. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Are resilient iron ore, steel and coking coal having a Wile E. Coyote moment? – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 19, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 19 (Reuters) – China’s iron ore and steel markets appear to be taking a risky bet that Beijing’s yet-to-be-announced stimulus measures will be enough to offset a looming global recession as the coronavirus spreads across the world.

But there is an increasing risk that they may be having a Wile E. Coyote moment, the one where the hapless Road Runner-chasing cartoon coyote goes over the edge of a cliff and hangs in midair until he realises he is about to plummet into a deep canyon.

Iron ore, Shanghai steel futures and Australian coking coal have up until now been sharing something that is increasingly at odds with virtually every other commodity, namely that their prices have held up in the face of mounting economic gloom. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Coal beats gold (and other commodities) amid coronavirus gloom – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 17, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 17 (Reuters) – Amid carnage in the oil markets, and sharp losses for other commodities such as copper, you may be tempted to think gold is the best option for a positive return. But coal beats the metal.

Coal’s image is increasingly that of a pariah fuel, demonised by environmentalists and shunned by investors wary of its role in climate change. But one of the top performing commodities this year is coking coal, the higher-quality fuel used to make steel.

Coking coal futures on the Singapore Exchange, which mirror The Steel Index price for Australian free-on-board cargoes, ended at $159.98 a tonne on Monday, up 17.7% since the end of last year. Continue Reading →

China’s January-February coal output drops 6.3% as coronavirus disrupts (Reuters U.S. – March 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s coal output in the first two months of 2020 fell 6.3% from the same period a year earlier as the coronavirus outbreak stopped miners from getting back to work after the Lunar New Year holiday was extended in a bid to contain the epidemic.

China churned out 489.03 million tonnes of coal over January and February, down from 513.67 million tonnes in the same period last year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Monday.

Production of coke, widely used in steelmaking, fell 5.5% on the year in January-February to 70.64 million tonnes, statistic bureau data showed. The statistics bureau didn’t disclose numbers for January and February separately. Continue Reading →

OPINION: To lead on climate, Canada should invest in the next generation of nuclear reactors – by Robert Bryce (Globe and Mail – March 14, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Robert Bryce’s latest book is A Question of Power: Electricity and The Wealth of Nations, from which this essay is adapted.

Coal use in Canada continues to decline. In 2018, the amount of electricity produced from coal was about 59 terawatt-hours, or roughly half as much as the country’s utilities were producing in 2000.

Canada was able to slash its coal use thanks to its reliable nuclear plants, an increase in natural-gas-fired generation and growth in renewables. But if you think the rest of the world is going to quit using coal, think again. A total of nearly 200 gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity is now under construction around the world in places such as China, India, Turkey, Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Furthermore, and perhaps most surprisingly, Japan, the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s first international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, is also building new coal plants, up to 22 of them. Continue Reading →

Black-Lung Coal Miners Facing Serious Threat from Virus Spread – by Will Wade (Bloomberg News – March 12, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The biggest labor union for U.S. coal miners is warning that members are at “significant risk” from the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Mines are enclosed spaces where the highly contagious virus can easily spread, according to Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. The trade group is developing guidelines that it plans to issue to members soon, he said by email Thursday.

Miners also face greater health risks. As many as 20% of long-time miners may have black lung in central Appalachia, a historic bastion of U.S. coal production that includes parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Continue Reading →

Death of coal financing is exaggerated as China steps up (MiningWeekly/Bloomberg – March 9, 2020)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

Moves by some of the world’s biggest banks to end coal financing for the sake of the planet was supposed to create major headaches for companies like Whitehaven Coal.

Yet there was the Australian miner on a conference call last month announcing the refinancing and extension of a A$1-billion credit line, backed mostly by Chinese and Japanese lenders.

“Our banking relationships are strong, we are really well supported,” CFO Kevin Ball said. “That might come as a little bit of a surprise to people who aren’t familiar with coal.” Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Seaborne coal’s struggles in Asia are more than just China coronavirus by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 3, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 3 (Reuters) – Asia’s seaborne coal markets stumbled in February and it appears the coronavirus outbreak in China may dodge most of the blame, with the weakness concentrated in other major importers of the polluting fuel.

South Korea’s imports of both thermal and coking coal were particularly hard hit, dropping to 6.9 million tonnes in February from 11.4 million in January and 9.4 million in February 2019, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv.

That was the lowest monthly imports for South Korea since Refinitiv started vessel-tracking in January 2015. South Korea’s weak coal demand was sparked by the country’s decision to close up to 15 coal-fired power plants between December and February in order to limit air pollution over winter. Continue Reading →

Ex-boxer mayor seeks EU green funds to get Polish coal town off the ropes – by Agnieszka Barteczko (Reuters U.S. – March 3, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

BYTOM, Poland (Reuters) – As a teenager, Mariusz Wolosz was a promising boxer in Bytom in southern Poland, where his club was funded by one of the city’s many coal mines.

When the mines began closing in the 1990s, however, so did the club, halting Wolosz’s boxing career and condemning his once-bustling hometown to decades of poverty and decline.

Today, as Bytom’s mayor, Wolosz is fighting again, this time for a share of a new European Union fund designed to shift coal-dependent regions towards a greener economy. Continue Reading →

America’s coal country isn’t dead — it’s preparing for a comeback (Bloomberg News – February 20, 2020)

https://news.bloombergenvironment.com/

At least five of America’s coal producers went bankrupt in 2019. Prices for the fossil fuel have plunged 40% since a 2018 peak. And some of the nation’s largest miners are retrenching and slashing their dividends.

But don’t be mistaken: The fight against climate change hasn’t killed off Coal Country yet. Instead of pouring money into dividends and buybacks, the nation’s largest coal producers say they’re hoarding cash to weather what they see as an impermanent storm.

Overall, the industry returned more than $1-billion to investors last year before retrenching. The goal this year: Be ready to start mining again and paying dividends at the first sign of a market revival. They’re betting that prices will bottom out in the first half of 2020 before rising in the second half as production declines and global consumption gains. Continue Reading →