Archive | Coal

Alberta’s now copying Ontario’s disastrous electricity policies. What could go wrong? – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – April 20, 2018)

Not every province gets the chance to live through the kind of white-knuckle excitement in its electricity sector that Ontario has enjoyed over the last decade: soaring power bills, fleeing industries and endless boondoggles in provincial contracts for solar and wind energy.

The dramatic climax arrived last week as David Livingston, the one-time chief of staff to Dalton McGuinty, the premier who imposed on Ontario the entire electricity fiasco, was sentenced to prison over a scheme to destroy evidence of the Liberal government’s political mischief in the power market.

But get ready, Alberta, because all the thrills and spills that inevitably follow when politicians start meddling in a boring but perfectly well-functioning electricity market in the name of pointless political symbolism are coming your way, next. Continue Reading →

Deti: Wyoming Mining Association director responds to Star-Tribune editorial on coal decline (Casper Star Tribune – April 13, 2018)

‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” So was the text of a cable sent by Mark Twain from London to the American press following the mistaken publication of his obituary. After reading a recent editorial in the Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming Needs to be Honest About Coal’s Uncertain Future, April 8, 2018), I cannot help but empathize with how Mr. Twain felt.

Most importantly, the piece was seemingly written with the mistaken premise that the Wyoming coal industry and its supporters are laboring under the Pollyannaish notion that Washington’s change in policy direction was like a magic wand being waved to restore the industry to its former heights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Those who work in and for this industry, as well as those who make public policy in this state, are acutely aware of the current state of Wyoming’s coal industry. We have always known changing Washington’s regulatory approach was not a simple “silver bullet” for the industry’s challenges. However, it has certainly been a welcome and positive change. Continue Reading →

[Australia Coal Mining] Newcastle mine rehabilitation conference hears of industry progress towards ecological best practice – by Ian Kirkwood (Newcastle Herald – April 14, 2018)

THE coal industry knows it has to lift its game on rehabilitation, although good progress was being made, an internationally attended conference on the subject in Newcastle heard this week.

The eighth annual “best practice ecological rehabilitation of mined lands” conference, hosted by the Tom Farrell Institute, was held at Wests New Lambton on Thursday, with inspection tours of the Westside and Donaldson mines taking place the day before.

Institute director Tim Roberts said about 270 people attended the conference, meaning it had doubled its size in attendance over the years. Dr Roberts said the conference delegates were a mixture of rehabilitation specialists, mining company representatives, students and community representatives. Continue Reading →

Yes, anti-pipeline Vancouver really is North America’s largest exporter of coal – by Tristin Hopper (National Post – April 13, 2018)

A city dead set against expanding petroleum exports is decidedly less irked about another type of fossil fuel

Lately, it’s one of the few things that oil boosters and environmental activists can agree upon: Calling Vancouver a hypocrite for opposing carbon emissions while also being the continent’s largest coal port.

And both camps are correct. According to the data, Canada’s mecca of anti-pipeline sentiment does indeed rank as the largest single exporter of coal in North America. Vancouver’s various coal facilities exported 36.8 million tonnes of coal in 2017, according to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

This places the B.C. city well above Norfolk, Virginia, the busiest coal port in the United States. Despite a massive spike in U.S. coal exports for 2017, only 31.5 million tonnes of coal moved out of Norfolk last year. Continue Reading →

Senate Confirms Former Coal Lobbyist to EPA’s No. 2 Job – by Ari Natter (Bloomberg News – April 12, 2018)

A former lobbyist for one of the largest U.S. coal mining companies won confirmation to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s No. 2 official, putting him in position to take over the agency, at least temporarily, if embattled Administrator Scott Pruitt were to leave.

Andrew Wheeler, a former Republican Senate staffer whose client list at lobbying firm Faegre Baker Daniels LLP included coal company Murray Energy Corp., uranium explorer Energy Fuel Resources Inc., and utility giant Xcel Energy Inc., was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday to be EPA’s deputy administrator by a vote of 53 to 45.

Most Democrats were opposed to the nomination, which was already facing resistance from congressional critics who said Wheeler worked to roll back EPA regulations while serving his clients. Continue Reading →

Michael Bloomberg Takes on the Coal Industry – by Carolyn Kormann (The New Yorker – April 12, 2018)

On Monday afternoon, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and former three-term mayor of New York City, escaped to a deserted ballroom at the Grand Hyatt, in midtown Manhattan, to talk about climate change.

Moments earlier, he had announced to attendees of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit that his philanthropic organization was partnering with the Canadian and British governments to expedite the global eradication of coal mining.

His two new partners—Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, and Claire Perry, the United Kingdom’s minister of state for energy and clean growth—came along for the discussion. Continue Reading →

Coal’s energy role is diminishing, and it’s not going to bounce back in the U.S., panel says – by Tom Lutey (Billings Gazette – April 6, 2018)

The Western coal economy is likely to continue on for a few decades in a much smaller scale, concluded panelists at a “future of coal” conference in Billings on Friday.

With fewer power plants burning the fossil fuel and competition from cheap natural gas, wind and solar energy, coal’s contribution to the nation’s electricity production has dropped to 30 percent, down from 52 percent 20 years ago. The fossil fuel isn’t going to bounce back in the United States.

However, the world isn’t done burning coal, said Todd O’Hair, senior manager of government affairs for Cloud Peak Energy. Global demand for coal is increasing. Cloud Peak’s Spring Creek Mine in southeast Montana exports coal to Japan and South Korea. Continue Reading →

BHP says to quit global coal lobby group, stick with U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Reuters U.S. – April 4, 2018)

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) (BLT.L) said on Thursday it had made a final decision to leave the World Coal Association (WCA) over differences on climate change but would remain a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

BHP has largely quit mining coal for power plants, but is the world’s largest exporter of coal for steel-making. It said in December it had taken a preliminary decision to withdraw from the WCA, pending a full review.

The miner came under pressure from Australian green groups last year to leave any industry associations with policies that fail to match the company’s support of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Continue Reading →

Trump Makes American Coal Great Again — Overseas – by Keith Johnson (Foreign Policy – April 4, 2018)

U.S. coal exports have exploded. Can that continue?

President Donald Trump vowed to make U.S. energy dominance a cornerstone of his foreign policy, and, sure enough, the United States this year is producing and exporting record amounts of oil and natural gas.

More surprising, though, is the huge resurgence in U.S. exports of coal to countries all over the world, from Argentina to Ukraine. It’s a big silver lining for the beleaguered coal sector that has seen production and exports steadily dwindle in recent years.

But it’s not such great news for U.S. steelmakers, who are watching global rivals gobble up American coal to feed their steel mills — and who then turn around and export millions of tons of steel to the United States, prompting the Trump administration to levy tariffs on lots of imported steel. Continue Reading →

President Trump has yet to save the struggling coal industry, numbers show – by Michael Collins (USA TODAY – April 4, 2018)

WASHINGTON — President Trump was in a celebratory mood early last spring as he prepared to sign an executive order rolling back environmental protections reviled by the nation’s coal industry.

Turning to the miners beside him at the ceremony, Trump repeated a promise that he made often during his campaign for president. “You’re going back to work,” he said to nods of approval and applause.

But not much has changed for the nation’s ailing coal industry since Trump moved into the White House. Coal employment and production are up just slightly, coal consumption is down and coal prices have fallen a little below where they were the day that Trump took office. Continue Reading →

What anti-Adani protestors can learn from the Jabiluka blockade – by Scott Ludlam (The Guardian – April 2, 2018)

Like anti-Adani protesters today, those who stood up at Jabiluka were attacked. It’s good to remember that people can prevail

ne of Australia’s proudest land rights struggles is passing an important anniversary: it is 20 years since the establishment of the blockade camp at Jabiluka in Kakadu national park. This was the moment at which push would come to shove at one of the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposits. The industry would push, and people power would shove right back.

The blockade set up a confrontation between two very different kinds of power: on the one side, the campaign was grounded in the desire for self-determination by the Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners, particularly the formidable senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula.

They were supported by a tiny handful of experienced paid staff and backed by an international network of environment advocates, volunteer activists and researchers. Continue Reading →

Prairie Mining starts legal action against Poland’s environment ministry (Reuters U.S. – April 3, 2018)

WARSAW, April 3 (Reuters) – Australia’s Prairie Mining said it filed a lawsuit in a Warsaw civil court on Friday against the Polish environment ministry, seeking an extension to the company’s exclusive rights to a mining project in the country.

The news sent the miner’s shares plunging 30 percent in London and 20 percent in Warsaw. Prairie Mining secured in 2015 the exclusive right to apply for a mining concession for the Jan Karski mine in southeast Poland and had until April 2, 2018 to file its application.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday that it had not been able to apply for the concession because it first needs to obtain an environmental permit from local authorities, which it said has been delayed. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s Coal Canary Stops Tweeting – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – March 28, 2018)

Prices at Australia’s Newcastle port, the largest export harbor for the thermal coal used in power generation, have held above $90 a metric ton for eight months, the best run since the market peaked between 2010 and 2012, only dropping below that level this week.

Glencore Plc’s energy business — essentially a coal-mining operation with a droplet of oil thrown in 1 — generated as much profit in 2017 as in the previous three years put together, and accounted for a quarter of group earnings. This month is one of the dozen best for coal deal-making activity since the start of 2006, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

That could make Rio Tinto Group’s decision to exit the last of its coal mines seem quixotic at best. While the sales of its Kestrel and Hail Creek mines and Valeria and Winchester South projects will generate about $4.15 billion (enough on paper to leave Rio debt-free), they’ll make it an increasingly iron ore-dependent business. Continue Reading →

Judge says officials must consider reduced coal mining to address climate change (Casper Star Tribune – March 26, 2018)

CHEYENNE — U.S. government officials who engage in regional planning for an area of Wyoming and Montana that supplies 40 percent of the nation’s coal must consider reducing coal mining as a way to fight climate change, a judge has ruled.

Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Great Falls, Montana, applies to the Powder River Basin, where house-sized dump trucks haul loads mined around the clock from open-pit coal mines. Some of the mines measure more than a mile wide.

Morris rejected U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials’ argument that climate change could be addressed when they consider whether to allow individual mine expansions. Continue Reading →

Motor Mouth: The inconvenient truth about China, Norway’s EV subsidies – by David Booth ( – March 16, 2018)

If there is one constant refrain from the electric vehicle lobby, it is the deification of Norway and China as leaders in the automobile’s green revolution. Indeed, “Why can’t we be more like Beijing or Oslo?” is probably the most popular comment on any Internet forum relating to the lack of progress in electrifying our North American fleet.

And it’s an image both countries take pains to promote: One of the key speakers at this year’s Canadian International Auto Show was Morten Edvardsen, senior political adviser for the Norwegian EV Association, whose whole message seemed to be, ah, “Why can’t Canada be more like Norway?”

At first glance there is much to covet. Norway, as Edvardsen took great pains to point out, has the highest penetration of electric vehicles per population — 216 per 10,000 inhabitants, roughly 20 times than that in Canada — and market share — about 35 per cent of all cars sold in Norway in 2017 were plug-ins. Continue Reading →