Archive | Coal

India looks to relax norms to attract global coal miners, industry skeptical – by Sudarshan Varadhan and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – November 18, 2019)

NEW DELHI/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – India is looking to lower advance payments and offer larger mining blocks to attract global companies to invest in its coal sector for the first time, but industry sources say the measures may not be enough to draw in big international miners.

India plans to float global tenders for the first time for coal mining blocks before end-2019, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in August, a move that could end Coal India Ltd’s <COAL .NS> near-monopoly on the fuel.

The auctions, to be aimed at paring back the nation’s coal imports, are intended to attract global miners such as Glencore PLC, BHP Group, Anglo American PLC and Peabody Energy Corp. Continue Reading →

Coal communities and the demonization of Thatcher and Obama – by John Kemp (Reuters U.S. – November 8, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Mine closures and employment losses have left deep economic, social and political scars on the main coal-producing regions of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Britain’s former coal mining communities remain among the most deprived in the country decades after the pits closed as they have struggled to attract new industries.

Perhaps as a result, there was a close correlation between former coalfields and some of the highest percentage votes for Leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum. In the United States, the eastern coal regions have above well above average poverty rates and worse outcomes for health and mortality. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-India’s economic woes hit coal imports, but crude oil soldiers on for now – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – November 12, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 12 (Reuters) – A sharp plunge in India’s electricity demand in October has been matched by falling coal imports, but weakness in vehicle sales and fuel demand hasn’t yet showed up in crude oil imports.

Power demand in Asia’s third-largest economy slumped 13.2% in October from a year earlier, the steepest monthly decline in more than 12 years, according to government data.

Coal imports fell to 14.7 million tonnes in October, the lowest since January and the third straight month of declines, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv. Continue Reading →

Another Big Mining Company Coal-Free Future – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – November 12, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here. Anglo American Plc dropped another hint that its days of mining the world’s most polluting fuel are limited.

In a slew of presentations released for an investor visit to Anglo assets in Australia, thermal coal was noticeably absent from a list of units seen to have long-term potential. The company is on a trajectory away from thermal coal, and will do so responsibly, an Anglo spokesman said.

Anglo will decide in the next year if thermal coal fits into its future portfolio, and may be better off selling the assets, RBC Capital Markets said in a note following the presentations. Continue Reading →

Canadian carbon guilt belongs in a parallel universe – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – November 12, 2019)

Canada boasts that it has reduced coal usage. … India’s minister
of coals and mines said recently that Coal India, the government
-owned national producer, aimed to boost output to one billion
tonnes a year from about 700 million tonnes currently.

As the political convulsions within Canada over Alberta’s fossil fuel future unfold, including divisive talk of separation and Wexit, one has to wonder what alternative planet Canadians inhabit.

After an election filled with emergency calls to end fossil fuel use within a decade or two, the country that was built on natural resources is now being torn apart over whether to build a pipeline to carry a few driblets of oil through the Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast.

Driblets is the right word in the context of Planet Earth. Global oil production may already exceed 100 million barrels a day. The additional volume of oil to be delivered through the proposed TMX expansion line — about 600,000 barrels a day — is equivalent to 0.6 per cent of global production. By way of comparison, imagine standing in front of a supermarket aisle of 2,000 cans of beer; proportionately, TMX would add two six-packs. Continue Reading →

Burning Coal – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – November 11, 2019)

It’s becoming harder for Australia’s government to avoid talking about the link between its biggest export earner and rising temperatures.

You could smell the approach of Sydney’s bushfires two weeks away. Leaving my home for work last month at a time when California’s fires were at their most intense, the sandalwood odor of burning eucalyptus was heavy on the air.

Looking north from Bloomberg’s office to the far side of Sydney Harbour, the normally sparkling blue water was a barely discernible smudge. That was mostly not wildfire, but a dozen deliberate hazard-reduction burns under way across the metropolitan area in a last-ditch attempt to eliminate flammable plant litter and undergrowth before conditions worsened.

Tuesday will prove a test of how effective that has been. Sydney’s entire metropolitan area and a swathe of country in the Hunter Valley to the north and Illawarra to the south will face catastrophic fire danger, the highest risk rating in New South Wales state, thanks to strong winds combined with temperatures up to 37 degrees centigrade. Continue Reading →

[British Mining] Norma Gregory on the Hidden History of Black Miners and Her New Exhibiton – by Alex Kuster ( – November 10, 2019)

Nottingham has plenty of things to be proud of. Our roots being one of them; history is so deeply embedded in many of the things that we all love about this city. But the narrative isn’t fully complete. Historian Norma Gregory has spent the past few years unearthing the untold stories of several black coal miners who lived and worked in the UK.

We spoke to her about her new exhibition, Digging Deep: Coal Miners of African Carribean Heritage which features photos, audio recordings and oral histories that have previously been left unheard…

Tell us a little bit about the exhibition…

The exhibition is currently at The National Coalmining Museum in Wakefield. It’s been a multi-level, multi-pronged, all-hands-involved project. We have interviewed over 67 miners in total so far – we have a database of over 200 names, and that’s all come from word of mouth. Continue Reading →

Mining Illinois: is it time up for coal mining? – by Heidi Vella (Mining Technology – November 7, 2019)

The Illinois coal basin is one of the oldest and most productive in the US, but as the coal market continues to slump, and new mine closures are being announced, many are beginning to wonder, can the industry overcome this latest challenge? Heidi Vella investigates.

Coal was first mined along the 400-mile-long Illinois coal basin, which covers parts of Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky, by settlers in the 1800s. According to the Illinois Coal Association (ICA), by the1900s, coal was being produced in at least 52 of the region’s 102 counties, nine of which were producing more than one million tons a year. Overall, it’s thought more than 7,400 mines have operated in Illinois.

The basin, which has the second largest coal reserves in the US, is known for producing cheap, sulphur-rich, bituminous coal. In recent years, this soft, highly polluting type of coal has lost much of its market due to emission restrictions put on US power plants under the Obama administration. According to the ICA, these regulations saw around 25% of coal power plants close down, creating a massive decline in demand for the coal mining industry. Continue Reading →

Coal and the Industrial Revolution – by Dr. Thomas G. Andrews ( – March 7, 2019)

Dr. Thomas G. Andrews is the Assistant Professor of History at the University of Colorado.

As of 1860, the United States was an industrial laggard. Great Britain, France, and Germany each produced more goods than their transatlantic counterpart. By 1900, however, U.S. industrial production exceeded “the combined manufacture of its three main rivals.” Why, and with what consequences?

Rise of Fossil Fuels

Most textbooks provide at least a few glimpses of the transformation of the U.S. into a fossil-fueled nation: a photo of child laborers outside a Pennsylvania coal mine, a statistic on rising coal production, perhaps a brief mention of the Ludlow Massacre of 1914 (in which Colorado National Guardsmen killed 18 men, women, and children during a miners’ strike in southern Colorado).

Aside from these disconnected tidbits, though, textbooks offer little insight into the profound historical significance of energy, nor do they provide a coherent interpretation of what the adoption of fossil fuels portended for the nation’s economy and environment. Continue Reading →

Coal Jobs Are About to Take Another Hit – by Justin Fox (Bloomberg News – October 31, 2019)

In 1923 there were 862,536 coal miners in the U.S., about 2% of the country’s total workforce. These days, their ranks are much thinner. As the Washington Post uncharitably pointed out in 2017, more people now work at Arby’s than in the U.S. coal mining industry.

This did not stop Donald Trump from making the revival of coal mining a major plank of his presidential campaign, and a focus of his efforts after he took office. And sure enough, the number of coal mining jobs did stop falling in 2017.

There are indications, though, that the decline is about to resume. Before the 2000s, job losses in coal mining were mainly about better mining equipment and the rise of less-labor-intensive above-ground mining operations. Continue Reading →

Coal mining in Indian forests is turning local villagers into environmental watchdogs – by Kuwar Singh (Quartz India – October 29, 2019)

Every day, Ram Lal Kariyam checks the river stream that flows through Salhi, his village in the Hasdeo Arand forest of Chhattisgarh. He is on the lookout for any brown slurry from the coal-washing facility of the sprawling mine nearby.

“Earlier they would discharge dirty water four times a week,” said the 28-year-old farmer, a member of India’s Gond tribe. “Now it’s rare.” Driving this improvement are forest dwellers like him, who consistently monitor the coal mine for environmental violations.

The central state of Chhattisgarh produced the highest quantity of coal in India in the last financial year. Most of its mines are open-cast—the ground on top has to be destroyed as the coal beneath is too shallow for underground mining. It leads to greater air pollution due to the blasting of land as well as loading and unloading of overburdened soil. Continue Reading →

Biggest Private Coal Miner Goes Bust as Trump Rescue Fails – by Jeremy Hill, Will Wade and Steven Church (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – October 29, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Robert E. Murray, the U.S. coal baron who pressed the Trump administration to help save America’s struggling miners, placed his company into bankruptcy as demand for the fossil fuel continues to weaken.

Murray Energy Holdings Co. filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbus, Ohio, to restructure more than $2.7 billion of debt. The miner — the largest privately owned U.S. coal company — reached a restructuring support agreement with lenders who hold more than 60% of a $1.7 billion loan, the company said in a statement. The deal provides a new $350 million loan to keep operations going during the reorganization.

The bankruptcy comes more than a year after the Trump administration’s efforts to subsidize struggling nuclear and coal-fired power plants failed, shot down by Trump’s own appointed energy regulators. Some of those plants were Murray Energy’s customers. Robert Murray, a big donor to Trump’s campaign, was instrumental in setting his energy agenda and has hosted multiple fundraisers. Continue Reading →

BHP’s Colombian coal takes on Australian miners in Asia market switch – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – October 30, 2019)

The Colombian coal business owned by BHP, Glencore and Anglo American will switch focus from Europe to Asia, in a move that would put it head to head with Australian coal exporters.

Cerrejon president Guillermo Fonseca urged the Colombian government to consider cutting its tax take to make Cerrejon more competitive against Australian miners, who enjoy a shorter, and therefore, cheaper route to Asia.

”Europe (demand for coal) is declining and declining much faster than we expected, Asia is still growing and definitely that is where the market is going to be for the medium to long term,” he told The Australian Financial Review at Melbourne’s IMARC conference. Continue Reading →

Kentucky’s Leaders Are Siding With the Coal Industry, and Its Poorest Residents Are Paying a Price – by Rachel Leven and Zach Goldstein (Mother Jones – October 28, 2019)

Todd Bentley stepped onto his porch and saw the storm swelling the creek near his home. If this kept up all night, he feared, the creek could overflow its banks and wash out his neighborhood’s road. He headed out into the rain with his teenage son to secure his mother’s trailer across the street.

In minutes—before they could finish—they were up to their waists in floodwater. They had to clamber into the hills to escape. There they crouched for hours in their family cemetery, lightning striking around them, the water below them carrying cars, ripping up pavement and lifting homes off foundations.

“He started crying on me, it was happening so fast, and I, literally, I shook him,” Bentley recalled. “I said, ‘Son, listen. We’re fighting for our lives now—you’ve got to keep it together.’” Nine years after they survived the flood, storms fill Bentley with dread. He watches the creek. He paces. What if it happens again? Continue Reading →

From Wyoming to Australia, Coal’s Heartlands Are Retreating – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – October 24, 2019)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — From the Rocky Mountains to the Rhineland and Australia’s Great Dividing Range, the great tide of the coal industry is receding.

The entire Powder River Basin, the region spanning the states of Montana and Wyoming that provides about half of America’s thermal coal, is “distressed,” Moody’s Investors Service wrote in a report last week.

All companies producing coal there are now focusing on mining coking coal elsewhere in the U.S., the ratings company wrote. Output “will likely fall significantly in 2020,” it said. Continue Reading →