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Glencore’s former Ulan coal mine rehabilitated into natural habitat (Australian Mining – July 7, 2020)

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Glencore has transformed 52 hectares of the formerly mined land at the Ulan coal operation in New South Wales into a habitat for a diverse range of native plants and animals.

The rehabilitation efforts have been signed off by the New South Wales resources regulator for meeting the agreed completion criteria, having reached an appropriate post-mining state.

Government sign-off means that the Ulan site has reached the completion criteria and that with continued monitoring and maintenance, it will produce a self-sustaining ecosystem. Continue Reading →

Bringing coal back – by Robson Fletcher, Drew Anderson and Jordan Omstead (CBC News – July 7, 2020)

https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/

In a desperate economic moment, Alberta is abruptly reshaping a decades-old balance in the Rockies and Foothills, chasing opportunity in the volatile market of coal exports, at the risk of the very land that defines the province and its people.

Stand atop Mount Erickson in southeastern British Columbia and it feels like you can see forever.

Look north, and peer along the jagged ridgelines of the High Rock Range, which stretch to the horizon. To the south, snow-capped peaks in the Crowsnest Range cut into the blue sky, rising above dense green forests. Across the valley to the west, row upon row of sawtoothed summits fade into the distance, melding into mesmerizing array.

And then you look down. Down the austere slope, in the valley below, is a massive, open-pit coal mine. Continue Reading →

Germany’s plan to exit coal by 2038 becomes law – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – July 3, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Germany’s lower house of the parliament passed on Friday a bill to phase out coal-fired power stations in the country by 2038.

The new law entails over 50 billion euros ($56 billion) for mining companies, power plant operators, affected regions and employees to mitigate the impact of moving from coal to renewables as power source.

“The fossil fuel age is irrevocably coming to an end in Germany with this decision,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told lawmakers inside the chamber, urging opponents not to “talk it down”. Continue Reading →

Miners’ Houses: Lawren Harris in Glace Bay – by David Frank (Active History – June 2020)

http://activehistory.ca/

David Frank is a professor emeritus in Canadian history at the University of New Brunswick.

I think I first learned about this remarkable painting when my friend Allen Seager sent me a postcard from the Art Gallery of Ontario. Eventually I used it as the cover illustration for my biography of the union leader J.B. McLachlan.

More recently, it was featured in an exhibition at the AGO and in a documentary film. It is in the public eye again with the release this spring of stamps to mark the centennial of the first public show by the Group of Seven. Among the seven stamps, Lawren Harris is represented by Miners’ Houses, Glace Bay (1926).

This was not the most obvious choice. Only a few years ago, one of Harris’s iconic images of the north, Mountain Forms (1926), broke the record for Canadian art prices when it sold at auction for $11.2 million. But the lesser known Miners’ Houses was a very good choice. Within its limits, this is a “labour stamp” that acknowledges the often-overlooked working-class presence in Canadian history. It also opens up interesting questions about Harris’s social and political engagement and his evolution as an artist. Continue Reading →

Investor breathes new life in major Arctic coal project – by Atle Staalesen (The Barents Observer – June 25, 2020)

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/

Trotsenko on the 18th June formalized the acquisition of 75 percent of shares in the Arctic Mining Company and intends to forge ahead with big plans for coal production on the tundra.

The businessman, one of Russia’s richest, plans to invest 33 billion rubles in the project, Forbes informs.

Troubled project

The Arctic Mining Company was formerly owned by Dmitry Bosov, the businessman that in early May this year reportedly took his own life. Bosov and his investment company Alltech had great plans for the project and originally intended to extract several hundred million tons of high-quality coal from his many license areas in Taymyr. Continue Reading →

Blood on the Coal tartan honours Springhill’s coal mining heritage – by Darrell Cole (Halifax Chronicle Herald – June 25, 2020)

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/

SPRINGHILL, N.S. – It has been more than 60 years since large scale coal mining ended in Springhill, but its heritage is still a big part of the community’s soul.

Springhill native Roberta Bell was sleeping last June when the inspiration came to her to develop a coal miner’s tartan in honour of all those who went deep into the earth, and paid a heavy price, to dig coal and fuel the economy of Nova Scotia.

Bell has unveiled Blood on the Coal, a commemorative tartan that celebrates the coal mining heritage of Springhill. Continue Reading →

What’s next for coal country? – by Mason Adams and Dustin Bleizeffer (Energy News – June 23, 2020)

https://energynews.us/

Coal communities in Appalachia and Wyoming are vital revenue engines for huge portions of the rural U.S., and they face devastation with little time to adjust to new realities.

Coal country in the United States is in the midst of a historic transition. Whether it’s Welch, West Virginia; or Cumberland, Kentucky; or Gillette, Wyoming, communities that have built their cultures and economies around coal face a future without it.

This transition is not one most coal communities would have chosen, and because of the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s transpired much sooner than anticipated.

The decline that many coal communities expected to stretch years into the future has instead arrived, seemingly, overnight. Coal’s demise was already baked into market and policy forces driving toward cleaner energy for the past 20 years, according to analysts. Continue Reading →

Europe Targets U.S. Coal, Farms in Election-Year Trade Staredown – by Bryce Baschuk (Bloomberg News – June 23, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Transatlantic relations could reach a new low next month as the European Union readies tariffs on billions of dollars of American exports aimed at politically important industries for President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.

The EU has asked the World Trade Organization to give it the green light to place levies on $11.2 billion of U.S. products over a long-running aircraft subsidies dispute. A ruling is expected as soon as July and the EU is planning to target coal producers, farmers and fisheries, in addition to the makers of aircrafts and parts.

The potential flashpoint comes at a sensitive time, with companies struggling under historic virus-induced recessions and as the November presidential election draws sensitive industries, especially in the American heartland, into ongoing trade conflicts. Continue Reading →

Australia Fast-Tracks a $1 Billion Coal Mine – by James Thornhill(Bloomberg News – June 12, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — A giant Glencore Plc coal project in Australia has been fast-tracked as the nation turns to its vast natural resources to lift the economy out of its first recession in almost three decades.

The A$1.5 billion ($1 billion) Valeria mine in Queensland has been designated a “coordinated project”, which the state said Friday would help to get new jobs happening quicker. That comes as the national government stands firm in the face of calls at home and abroad to shift away from the highly polluting fuel.

“This new mine has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs as Queensland recovers from the extraordinary shock of the global coronavirus pandemic,” state Treasurer Cameron Dick said. “Coal mining has a long history in Queensland and will continue to be a major industry for many years to come.” Continue Reading →

The Navajo Wanted To Go Green, Then This Surprise Deal Made Them America’s 3rd Largest Coal Miner – by Christopher Helman (Forbes Magazine – June 10, 2020)

https://www.forbes.com/

Itʼs a hardscrabble existence for many of the 175,000 Navajo who live on the 27,000 square miles of tribal lands that stretch across the borders of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The median household income hovers around $30,000 a year, and more than a quarter of homes have no electricity.

In early May, the coronavirus was spreading so fast that New Mexico blockaded roads in and out of Gallup, the picturesque town on the edge of the Navajo nation known as the “heart of Indian country.”

The pandemic followed a particularly tough winter for some families. In November, the Kayenta strip mine and the Navajo Generating Station it supplied, both on tribal lands, finished shutting down, eliminating 800 relatively high-paying jobs and a free source of coal used by many Navajo to heat their homes. Continue Reading →

South Sask. governments eye tenuous coal-free economic future – by Evan Radford (Regina Leader-Post – June 9, 2020)

https://leaderpost.com/

CORONACH — As several local governments in south Saskatchewan eye an economic future without coal, a veteran of the industry is looking back on its history, uncertain what type of future development in the area is sustainable.

“I have no problem with wind- and sun-power. But if the wind don’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, I don’t know what you’re going to do — put a crank on it?” scoffs 93-year-old Harold Siggelkow.

The longtime Coronach resident owned the local mine on the southeast side of town for two years, 1946 and 1947. He kept working in the industry several years thereafter, in Crowsnest Pass, Alta. and at the Coronach-area’s Poplar River power plant, which uses coal from nearby surface strip-mining, in the 1970s. Continue Reading →

Poland halts work at 12 coal mines to curb COVID-19, angering union – by Agnieszka Barteczko (Reuters U.S. – June 8, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland will close 12 coal mines from Tuesday for three weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus among miners, Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin said on Monday.

Miners account for almost 20% of coronavirus cases reported in Poland. But the Solidarity trade union denounced the move, saying it would lead to permanent closures as the nationalist government was already planning to restructure the industry.

Two mines operated by state-run JSW and 10 mines owned by PGG group will close for three weeks, Sasin said. All are in Silesia, a mining region which accounted for over half of the new 599 coronavirus cases reported in Poland on Monday. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-The spike before the slump? Australian coal exports to China soar in May – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 28, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 28 (Reuters) – Australia’s coal exporters are bracing for a slump in shipments to China, making it somewhat ironic that May is likely to be the strongest month in nearly two years for Chinese imports from Down Under.

Traders are expecting that China’s coal imports may fall in coming months amid moves by Beijing to restrict cargoes to protect the domestic mining industry and prices.

While the port restrictions are expected to apply to all coal exporters, including China’s major suppliers of Indonesia, Australia and Russia, it’s also possible that Australian cargoes may suffer more given the ongoing political tensions between Beijing and Canberra. Continue Reading →

Anglo American explores sale of South Africa’s coal alongside spin-off -sources – by Clara Denina and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – May 22, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – Anglo American is still exploring a sale of its thermal coal assets in South Africa as an alternative to spinning off and listing the business, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Mining companies are under pressure to stop mining coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, from investors and governments keen to switch to cleaner fuels.

London-listed Anglo said earlier this month that it would spin off its last remaining coal assets in South Africa and list them in Johannesburg. Sources say an outright sale of Anglo American’s coal mines was still on the cards. Continue Reading →

Steve Earle’s new album considers coal miners’ perspective – by Steven Wine (WJLA.com/Associated Press – May 20, 2020)

https://wjla.com/

Contemplating the treacherous political landscape of West Virginia, Steve Earle decided to build a bridge.

The singer-songwriter known for his liberal views undertook a project that would speak for the other side on the issue of coal mining. Earle’s empathetic attempt to address the divide has resulted in one of his best albums: “Ghosts of West Virginia.”

The set draws material from the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men. Earle wrote folk songs for a play about the disaster, and has used them as the foundation of a concept album that considers coal’s role in the life of West Virginians from their perspective. Continue Reading →