Archive | Coal

New £165m coal mine in Cumbria ‘unanimously approved’ by councillors despite escalating climate change crisis – by Tom Embury-Dennis (Independent – March 19, 2019)

https://www.independent.co.uk/

A new £165m coal mine has been unanimously approved by councillors in Cumbria, sparking protests by environmental campaigners. Cumbria County Council said it was putting jobs above climate change concerns after its development committee approved the plan on Tuesday afternoon.

West Cumbria Mining, which filed the application, wants to extract coking coal along the coastline between Whitehaven and St Bees in Copeland and process the fossil fuel at a plant nearby.

Last week, Copeland’s Conservative MP Trudy Harrison “wholeheartedly” endorsed the proposed undersea mine, touting new jobs and the “huge” investment it would bring to the area. International trade secretary Liam Fox has also given his backing to the project. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Chinese go-slow on Australian coal imports may be starting to show – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, March 18 (Reuters) – China’s unofficial go-slow on clearing Australian coal through customs didn’t show up in the first two months of this year, but it may now be starting to have an impact.

Chinese coal traders are reported to have cut back on buying from Australia, the world’s largest exporter of the fuel, after the length of time taken by customs to clear cargoes reportedly doubled to at least 40 days.

The Chinese customs administration said earlier this month that it has made no changes to coal import policies nor its inspection of foreign cargoes, although a foreign ministry spokesman said environmental and safety checks have been stepped up. Continue Reading →

Support for climate change action could wane if no help for coal workers: report (CTV News – March 11, 2019)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/

CANADIAN PRESS: OTTAWA – Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is hinting the upcoming federal budget might have room for additional aids to help coal industry workers transition to new jobs.

The 2018 federal budget included a $35 million, five-year fund to help retrain coal workers to work in new jobs, but that was before Ottawa assigned a task force to consult affected provinces and communities on what was specifically needed. That task force reported Monday, laying out 10 broad recommendations to help workers prepare for a future without coal.

McKenna told The Canadian Press Monday she was intrigued by most of what was in the report. “There are some really good suggestions here,” she said. “We kind of have to look at it as a package. Most of the things we’re looking at in terms of the budget.” Continue Reading →

Coal is king in India—and will likely remain so – by Samantha Gross (Brookings Education Blog – March 8, 2019)

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/

In conversations about avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, removing coal from the world’s energy system is always at the top of the list of solutions.

Here in the United States, inexpensive natural gas has out-competed coal in the power system, bringing about a 40 percent decline in coal-fired generation over the last decade. However, coal is still king in other parts of the world.

India’s ambitious renewable energy goals have received a lot of international attention, but coal still provides half of India’s commercial primary energy and is the dominant fuel for power generation. In “Coal in India: Adjusting to transition,” Rahul Tongia and I state that we expect coal to remain the dominant fuel in the power sector in India, through 2030 and beyond. Continue Reading →

Coal’s Perfect Storm Shakes $50 Billion of Australian Projects – by James Thornhill (Bloomberg News – February 26, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — It’s been a tough few weeks for Australia’s coal industry. First there was a court ruling blocking a new mine on climate change grounds, then one of the world’s largest producers Glencore Plc capped output growth, and finally China was seen to be slowing down Australian imports.

The developments are symptoms of the fuel’s decline and likely signal headwinds for the industry in Australia, the world’s second-biggest supplier of coal used for power generation and steel making, where the government estimates some A$70 billion ($50 billion) of new projects are in the pipeline.

“They’re probably game-changing events from what we once knew of coal,” said David Lennox, a mining analyst at consultancy Fat Prophets. Recent developments should be viewed as part of the fuel’s gradual decline from a position of dominance in the global power mix, he added. Continue Reading →

Bill Gates, defying the Climate Barons, tells the ugly truth about renewables – by Peter Foster (Financial Post – February 22, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Forcing the adoption of expensive and unreliable energy destroys jobs (see Alberta) and exacerbates poverty in poor countries

Market advocates have always claimed that policy advice from business should be treated with suspicion. The road to economic and political hell is paved with corporate welfare and national champions (SNC-Lavalin anyone?).

Communists and the “progressive” left were much more harsh, claiming that since big business sought only monopoly and plutocracy, the state at least required “countervailing” power, if not absolute power.

Since command of economic resources was deemed synonymous with political power, some of the greatest businessmen and philanthropists all time — such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt — were reflexively dubbed “Robber Barons.” Continue Reading →

Column: Coal going from winner to loser in India’s energy future – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – February 20, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s demand for electricity is expected to double in the next two decades, and coal has been long forecast to be the fuel of choice for power generation. But this may no longer be the case.

It’s not that India doesn’t have plentiful reserves of coal. It does, and it is the world’s second-largest producer and importer, following China. It’s not even that India’s reserves are expensive to mine. They aren’t.

It’s not even that transporting coal from where it’s mined to where it’s needed is too difficult. Yes, it is an issue, but this challenge could be overcome with sufficient investment in rail and other infrastructure. Continue Reading →

A big Chinese port bans Australian coal and the dollar falls – by Kirsty Needham and Cole Latimer (Sydney Morning Herald – February 21, 2019)

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

Beijing: The Australian dollar fell 1 per cent on Thursday as news broke that a major Chinese port had banned imports of Australian coal, fuelling fears that diplomatic tensions were hitting Australia’s second largest export.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told Senate Estimates on Thursday night there was no evidence to support claims the slow down in coal imports was linked to diplomatic tensions. But he said Australian ambasssador to China Jan Adams had escalated her representations to the Chinese government.

Dalian Port and Dalian Customs declined to comment to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald after Reuters reported that the port had banned Australian thermal coal imports. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Miners must appeal anti-coal landmark court decision – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – February 10, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

You have to admire the collective against coal mining. It sure does know when and how to pick its fights. On Friday, the NSW Land and Environment Court rejected an application by Gloucester Resources to build a three-pit coking coal mine near the central NSW town that named the company.

Left to stand, the decision by Judge Brian Preston would seem to establish precedent because it moves all three categories of carbon emissions to the front and centre of the state’s planning approval process.

This has not so far been the case in NSW or anywhere else in Australia, for that matter, a fact made plain by the victory celebrations that Judge Preston’s odd decision triggered among his fans, old and new, in the climate change lobby. Continue Reading →

A toxic crisis in America’s coal country – by Gareth Evans (BBC News – February 11, 2019)

https://www.bbc.com/

Wyoming County, West Virginia – In the shadow of some of America’s most controversial coal mines, where companies use huge amounts of explosives to blow the tops off mountains, isolated communities say their water has been poisoned.

Now, they must decide if they will fight back against an industry they have relied upon for generations. Casey (not her real name) wears a one-dollar wedding ring now. She bought the blue plastic band after her original ring was ruined by the toxic water that has been pumping into her home for more than a decade.

“I just needed something there,” she says, as she holds the replacement ring up to the light. “I felt empty without it.” She places her original wedding band, now discoloured and corroded, in her palm. Her skin, especially on her hands, has become coarse and sore. Continue Reading →

Court rules out Hunter Valley coalmine on climate change grounds – by Michael McGowan and Lisa Cox (The Guardian – February 7, 2019)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Judge rejects Rocky Hill mine near Gloucester, NSW, because of its impact on the town and ‘dire consequences’ of increasing emissions

The controversial Rocky Hill coalmine in the Hunter Valley will not go ahead after a landmark ruling in the land and environment court on Friday that cited the impact it would have had on climate change.

Chief judge Brian Preston dismissed an appeal by Gloucester Resources, which was seeking to overturn a New South Wales government decision to reject an open-cut mine because of its impact on the town of Gloucester, north of Newcastle.

The Environmental Defenders Office joined the case last April, arguing on behalf of its client, Groundswell Gloucester, that the mine’s detrimental impact on climate change and on the social fabric of the town should be considered as part of the merit appeal. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-South Africa will struggle to boost coal exports, even if it wants to – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – February 4, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

CAPE TOWN, Feb 4 (Reuters) – There may be some irony in climate change being blamed for an increase in weather delays that resulted in South Africa’s coal exports dropping 4 percent last year, but in reality the rough seas at the country’s Richards Bay terminal are the least of the industry’s worries.

Shipments from Richards Bay declined to 73.5 million tonnes in 2018 from 76.5 million the prior year, well below the 91 million tonnes capacity of the terminal, which is the second-biggest in the world behind Newcastle Port in Australia.

The terminal lost 36 days of loading last year because of rough weather, down slightly from 38 days in 2017, with both these years being considerably higher than in preceding years. Continue Reading →

Global demand for coal rises despite uncertainty – by Kim Cloete (MiningWeekly.com – February 4, 2019)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – Despite a move to renewable energy, particularly in Europe, demand for coal globally soared in 2018, led by low calorific value (CV) coal demand. The strongest import markets were China and India, while Indonesia performed extremely strongly on the supply side.

China’s demand for coal strengthened in the first half of 2018, and eased towards the end of the year. This year, however, looks “deeply uncertain”, says IHS Markit research and analysis manager Sareena Patel.

“The situation has changed in China. A lot of local producers are starting to improve their output, which will facilitate local supply. A lot more nuclear power is also coming on line this year in China, making China a little less attractive as an import destination,” Patel told the Southern African Coal Conference, in Cape Town, on Friday. Continue Reading →

Former coal miner says Jan. 28 is anniversary of an economic homicide for Cape Breton – by Sharon Montgomery-Dupe (Cape Breton Post – January 28, 2019)

https://www.capebretonpost.com/

‘Like a drive-by shooting’

SYDNEY, NS — For some people, today might mark an anniversary or birthday, but for Steve Drake of New Waterford it signifies the “economic homicide” of Cape Breton. Drake said Jan. 28 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of the coal mines when then-Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale announced plans to privatize the coal mining industry on Jan. 28, 1999.

“They did it like a drive-by shooting,” Drake said. “I stood side by side with 200 coal miners and their families at the Delta Hotel in Sydney and shook my head as Minister Ralph Goodale hammered the final nail into the coffin of our beloved coal industry,” Drake said.

“The government handed out information kits like they were lottery tickets, like we had all won something.” The federal government’s announcement included plans to close Devco’s Phalen coal mine by the end of 2000 and sell the company’s Prince mine and other operations. Continue Reading →

Coal’s deadly reality: Heartbreaking TV doc reveals the dangerous truth about modern mining – by John Doyle (Globe and Mail – January 21, 2019)

 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

In the craven debacle that is U.S politics in the Trump era, coal miners played an important supporting role for a while.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump pledged to “get those mines open” and bring back a lot of coal-mining jobs. Famously, at a rally in West Virginia, he put on a miner’s helmet, imitated a miner shovelling coal and brayed: “For those miners, get ready, because you’re going to be working your asses off.”

It worked. In Kentucky, for instance, he won every county with a history of coal mining by huge margins. In the larger scheme of things, the oft-repeated declaration of advocacy for coal miners and steelworkers transmitted a devotion to working men and women in declining industries. Continue Reading →