Archive | Coal

Voters Won’t Decide the Future of Energy – by David Fickling (Bloomberg/Yahoo News – May 20, 2019)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Who decides the future of energy – the producers, or the consumers?

It’s a question that’s been asked at least since the 1970s, when the growing muscle of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the 1973 oil embargo sparked the founding of the International Energy Agency as a rival group to represent the interests of oil importers.

That same pattern has been playing out in recent days with elections in one of the world’s biggest energy exporters and one of its biggest importers. Both will have a crucial impact on the direction of global energy policies – particularly in its dirtiest form, fossil fuels. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Australia’s shock election shows killing coal mining is no sure thing – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 19, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 19 (Reuters) – While Australia’s opposition Labor Party is the obvious loser from the weekend election, the anti-coal environmental lobby suffered probably a bigger blow and will need to re-think its strategy to end mining of the polluting fuel.

The conservative Liberal Party-led coalition is likely to have pulled off one of the great political escapes by returning to office for a third term, confounding polls and pundits who thought Labor was a near certainty to win the May 18 election.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison may not secure an outright majority in the 151-seat lower house of parliament, results indicated that Labor, led by former unionist Bill Shorten, would have no chance of victory. Continue Reading →

N.S. mine where roof collapsed allowed limited production increase (Canadian Press/Financial Post – May 15, 2019)

DONKIN, N.S. — Nova Scotia’s Labour Department has allowed a limited increase in production at Canada’s only operating underground coal mine after a series of roof collapses last year.

Kameron Coal’s operations in Cape Breton were suspended for just under a month by the province in late December before it was allowed to partially resume activities in one portion of the mine while it prepared a revised roof support plan.

Scott Nauss, the province’s senior director of inspection compliance, said the new plan approved on May 7 allows Kameron to mine in two sections of the Donkin mine totalling 730 metres of added rock face, which is less than 10 per cent of the mine. Continue Reading →

World’s Coal Miners May Be Digging Themselves Into Another Glut – by Will Wade (BNN/Bloomberg News – May 10, 2019)

(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. Continue Reading →

Even Trudeau’s Canada Won’t Rid Itself of Coal – by Josh Wingrove (Bloomberg News – May 10, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Scientists agree coal is choking the planet—so why is it so hard for governments to ditch? This is the last in a three-part series. Read parts one and two.

Set against lush hills, deep inlets and snow-kissed mountain peaks, Vancouver is the wellspring of Canadian environmentalism—and the heart of its climate dilemma.

British Columbia’s premier city prides itself on its green bona fides. The province is the birthplace of Greenpeace, ushered in Canada’s most successful carbon tax and is governed by a coalition that includes Green Party lawmakers. It’s also the one-time home to a young Justin Trudeau. Continue Reading →

Singapore banks move to end Southeast Asia’s coal addiction – by Kentaro Iwamoto (Nikkei Asian Review – May 8, 2019)

SINGAPORE — A push to end Southeast Asia’s addiction to fossil fuels is gathering pace after the region’s two biggest banks said they would stop funding coal-fired power plants.

Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings said last month that it would cease financing new coal power projects from 2021 following the completion of existing projects in Indonesia and Vietnam, and will instead tilt toward renewable energy projects such as solar power. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. announced that it would also quit coal.

The move is “a major game-changer for energy finance in the ASEAN region,” said Julien Vincent, executive director at Australia-based environment advocacy group Market Forces. Continue Reading →

[Australia] The Land Where Coal Remains King – by Jason Scott (Bloomberg News – May 7, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — For Ann Taylor, the idea that Australia’s colossal coal industry should be tamed is risible. Taylor is mayor of a council in Queensland state that already hosts 26 mines. She wants more added from the nearby Galilee Basin, a coal-rich area about the size of the U.K. that, if fully developed, could more than double Australia’s exports of the fuel.

“We’re absolutely pro-coal mining and proud of it—that’s why we’re here,” Taylor said in her office in Moranbah, a town of 8,000 people that owes its half-century existence to the industry. “There’s a lot of life left in coal.”

Coal is Australia’s second-largest income generator after iron ore, and many lawmakers welcome efforts to boost an industry that brings in A$60 billion ($42 billion) a year. None more so than Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who as the country’s treasurer two years ago brandished a lump of coal in parliament, taunting lawmakers from the opposition Labor party that they were scared of the fuel because they favored more cuts to carbon emissions. Continue Reading →

Adani refuses to commit to size of ‘scaled-down’ Carmichael coalmine – by Ben Smee (The Guardian – May 7, 2019)

Adani has refused to commit to the size of its “scaled-down” Carmichael coal project and is still pursuing final approvals based on plans for a 60m-tonne megamine in central Queensland.

The Queensland government has confirmed that while Adani announced last year it intended to build a much smaller mine, the Indian company has filed no formal plans on that basis. Instead, the state is assessing Adani’s key environmental management plans on the assumption the project would produce up to 60m tonnes of coal a year.

When the company’s groundwater plan was assessed by the federal government, the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia provided expert advice that recommended Adani commit to a particular mine plan, or to producing a set amount of coal. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Poor April for global seaborne coal exporters masks overall resilience – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 2, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 2 (Reuters) – Coal exporters suffered a poor April with seaborne volumes dropping from the previous month amid slack demand, but the overall picture for the industry so far this year isn’t quite as gloomy as it may appear.

April is not traditionally a strong month for coal demand as it falls between the winter and summer power demand peaks – declining seaborne volumes are to be expected. It’s also worth noting that the world’s top coal exporters have managed to boost shipments on a year-on-year basis, not just in April but also for the first four months of the year.

The strength in export volumes so far in 2019 hasn’t been matched by prices, with benchmark Australian thermal coal trending weaker since reaching a seven-and-a-half-year peak of $119.74 a tonne in July last year. Continue Reading →

Asia continues to pivot away from coal – by Tim Buckly (Asia Times – April 2019)

The number of thermal coal plants in development pipelines of major Asian countries continues to free-fall, according to new data. The decline poses a warning to the world’s biggest exporters of thermal coal – Australia and Indonesia – to check supply.

The latest coal-fired power plant data released by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) in March shows further shrinkage of coal development pipelines of Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China.

Countries across Asia are shifting away from thermal coal into cleaner renewable-energy options, further validating the prediction of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) that the Asian seaborne thermal coal market is approaching long-term, permanent decline. Continue Reading →

Teck shifts more coal sales to India as uncertainty looms over Chinese imports – by Ian Bickis (Globe and Mail/Canadian Press – April 23, 2019)

Teck Resources Ltd. says it is less exposed to uncertainties on Chinese coal imports after shifting more sales to India.

Last year was the first time India surpassed China as a market for the company’s steelmaking coal, Real Foley, vice-president of coal marketing at Teck, told a conference call with financial analysts Tuesday.

The reduced reliance means the company is less exposed to potential disruptions to imports, as has been reported to be happening with Australian shipments to China. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Australia’s pro-coal lobby should heed South Korea warning – by Clyde Russell (Reuters India – April 24, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, April 24 (Reuters) – A change in South Korea’s energy policy should have absolutely no bearing on the current Australian election campaign, but it should, as it’s a stark warning to politicians who still see a rosy future for coal mines and exports.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and South Korea has been a reliable customer for decades, taking 43.4 million tonnes of the polluting fuel from Australia in 2018, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Refinitiv.

However, South Korea is now shifting its energy policy to effectively punish coal and promote both renewable energies and the use of cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas (LNG). Continue Reading →

Federal carbon tax favours coal-fired plants, could “diminish” renewables investment, new report says – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – April 24, 2019)

OTTAWA — The federal carbon tax could favour coal-fired power plants over clean sources like wind and solar in its approach to industrial emissions, a new report says, potentially undermining a central aim of the Liberal government’s policy.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna released a regulatory proposal in December 2018 that provided details on the heavy emitters portion of the carbon tax, including how levies would be applied to electricity generators.

Independent think-tank The C.D. Howe Institute reviewed the proposal and found it would actually give a leg up to higher-intensity emissions like coal and “diminish” investment in renewables, due to a decision to raise a critical threshold on certain producers. Continue Reading →

New Coal Plants Are Just Too Expensive in China, Analysis Says (Bloomberg News – April 22, 2019)

China’s green light to build more coal-fired power plants probably won’t usher in a flurry of new construction as most policies and investments in the top energy user will tilt toward renewable sources.

More than 10 regions will be freed of their overcapacity tag in 2022, clearing a hurdle for them to resume building coal-fired plants. But many of the nation’s largest power companies are under a state drive to develop more clean energy projects, according to Morningstar Inc., which expects growth in coal-fired capacity to lag other sources.

“The profitability of coal-fired power plants is so low, there’s no incentive for them to build more,” said Morningstar analyst Jennifer Song. “China as a whole has set consumption targets for renewable energy sources. We can see those large power groups also have quotas to build more renewable projects.” Continue Reading →

Generalisations about coal are fraught with risks – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – April 17, 2019)

Underlying drivers for fuel prices remain intact despite a softening in Europe’s market

All fossil fuels are not created equal. Take thermal coal, which is burnt in power stations to produce electricity. It almost defies categorisation as a commodity because differences in quality vary markedly from region to region.

Coal produced in Australia’s Hunter Valley, for example, commands a higher price than material mined in Indonesia or some parts of South America because of its high calorific value and low impurities.

That makes generalisations about the near 1bn-tonne-a-year seaborne thermal coal market — an important source of income for miners including Glencore, Anglo American and BHP Billiton — fraught with risk. Continue Reading →