Archive | Coal

US coal miners call on Trump to move on – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 24, 2020)

Support from coal miners helped Donald Trump win the US presidency four years ago. Now, the leader of the nation’s top mining union is calling on Trump to “move on”, adding that ongoing efforts to challenge vote counts and pressure state elections officials are a “threat to our entire form of government and the American way of life.”

While the US General Services Administration — the federal agency that allows the transition process to begin — said late on Monday President-elect Joe Biden’s team could get in touch to begin changeover, Trump continues to hold on to power.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday he would soon present evidence of widespread ballot fraud and other wrongdoing in “great detail” in a “big lawsuit”. Continue Reading →

There’s $500 million of coal on anchored ships off China’s coast – by Aaron Clark and Kevin Varley (Bloomberg News – November 24, 2020)

More than $500 million worth of Australian coal is on ships anchored off Chinese ports, as a diplomatic spat between the two countries cuts into trade, idles a portion of the world’s dry bulk carriers and threatens to spiral into a humanitarian crisis.

More than 50 vessels have been waiting a month or longer to offload coal from Australia, according to separate analyses of shipping data conducted by Bloomberg and data intelligence firm Kpler.

There’s about 5.7 million tonnes of coal and approximately 1,000 seafarers on the anchored vessels, which are mostly Capesize and Panamax-sized vessels, according to Kpler. Continue Reading →

They heated with coal in P.E.I.’s Bygone Days (CBC News – November 22, 2020)

Coal from Springhill, N.S., was said to be the best for steam-engine trains

As oil heat falls out of fashion for polluting the environment and heating with wood falls out of fashion for all the back-breaking work involved, more Islanders are turning to electricity, powered in part by wind or solar.

But did you know many homes and businesses were heated with coal in Prince Edward Island’s bygone days?

The black rocks were shipped to the Island on wooden schooners from Cape Breton Island, Pictou and Springhill, N.S., as well as Minto, N.B. Continue Reading →

Pike River: The 29 coal miners who never came home – by Phil Mercer (BBC/Yahoo News – November 19, 2020)

The Pike River mining disaster was a tragedy that shocked the world. Twenty-nine men who were in the New Zealand coal mine died when it collapsed in a series of explosions. The BBC’s Phil Mercer covered the accident 10 years ago and has been talking to families of victims still coming to terms with their loss.

The day after his 17th birthday, Joseph Ray Dunbar began his first shift underground at the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand.

He was a “strong-minded boy” who wanted to carve his own path in life, but on that day in November 2010 he became the youngest victim of a mining disaster that killed 29 men. Continue Reading →

Mining for coal in Alberta has a storied past – by Duane McCartney (The Western Producer – November 13, 2020)

In central Alberta, near the banks of the Battle River, sit the remains of the Diplomat coal mine. The site was originally the homestead of Austing Bish and his four sons, who arrived in the Forestburg area from Oregon in 1905. The family farmed their homesteads and began to exploit the coal deposits in the Battle River Valley.

In the early days of coal mining, underground mines, also called gopher holes, were dug into coulee banks into seams of coal. Coal was removed by hand.

As the demand for coal increased, tunnels were used to create drift mines using the room and pillar technique to mine the coal. “Rooms” were areas where the coal had been removed and could be as long as 60 metres. Pillars were layers of coal left to support the overhead roof of layers of clay and topsoil. Continue Reading →

Romania’s coal-black heartland embraces Europe’s Green New Deal – by Hans von der Brelie (Euro News – November 13, 2020)

Our drone reveals an apocalyptic landscape of industrial decline: abandoned mine buildings as far as the eye can see.

This is Jiu Valley, in south-western Romania, a six-hour drive from the capital Bucharest: it’s Romania’s famous coal heartland.

But it now finds itself at a crossroads, as Europe’s coal regions transition away from this fossilised fuel to more environmentally-sustainable energy sourcess. Continue Reading →

Hundreds of coal mining jobs to end as power company switches to natural gas (Victoria Times Colonist – November 4, 2020)

CANADIAN PRESS: CALGARY — Alberta power producer TransAlta Corp. says it will end operations at its Highvale thermal coal mine west of Edmonton by the end of 2021 as it switches to natural gas at all of its operated coal-fired plants in Canada four years earlier than previously planned.

The announcement will result in hundreds of mine job losses as employment drops to 40 to 50 people involved in reclamation work, expected to take about 20 years, from a peak workforce of around 1,500, said CEO Dawn Farrell on a conference call on Wednesday.

ransAlta confirmed last week it had closed a $400-million second tranche of a $750-million investment by an affiliate of Brookfield Asset Management, with the proceeds to be used to advance its coal-to-gas conversion program and other corporate purposes. Continue Reading →

Estevan looks to diverse coal usages, modular potash mines – by Evan Radford (Regina Leader-Post – November 2, 2020)

As part of southeast Saskatchewan’s move away from burning coal, Estevan is looking to a new partnership struck with a nearby First Nation and a veteran geologist to help keep jobs and money in the area.

The city has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ocean Man First Nation and Buffalo Potash Corporation to study how and if it can bring modular potash mines to the area and a processing facility that wouldn’t burn coal, but would still use it to create fuel.

Ocean Man sits about 100 kilometres north of Estevan. Buffalo Potash Corp., founded in 2018, is headed by long-time geology consultant and potash expert Stephen (Steve) Halabura; some of his past work includes pinpointing underground potash reserves in the province and helping BHP Billiton set up its mining sites. Continue Reading →

Thermal coal demand in Asia to rise – report – by Esmarie Iannucci ( – October 28, 2020)

PERTH ( – New research conducted on behalf of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has noted that the demand for thermal coal imports in the Asia Pacific region will grow by more than 270-million tonnes to 2030, to reach 1.1-billion tonnes a year.

The report by Commodity Insight, noted that there were several fundamental factors driving this growth in demand, including high electricity demand, high population growth, significant coal-fired generation capacity, and the inability of domestic coal production to keep pace with demand growth. Continue Reading →

Banks Don’t Want to Lend to Australia’s Coal Miners Any More – by James Thornhill (Yahoo/Bloomberg – October 28, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Financing options open to Australia’s coal operators dwindled further after another of the country’s largest banks said it would end almost all investment in thermal mines and power stations by 2030.

The move by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. will add to the increasing difficulty miners face in funding new operations or expanding their existing assets in the nation, the world’s second-biggest exporter of thermal coal.

Financial institutions across the globe are bowing to pressure from shareholders and lobby groups to avoid investments in the fuel. Meanwhile, Australia’s mining lobby forecasts a booming market, on Tuesday saying that it expects Asian demand to rise 35% over the next decade. Continue Reading →

Hearing begins for contentious coal mining project in Alberta – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – October 27, 2020)

Steelmaking coal would be exported to key markets of China and India

In a project that provides a window into the future of Canada’s vast natural resources, a joint federal-provincial panel on Tuesday kicked off a review of an Australian company’s proposal to reopen a part of southwestern Alberta to coal mining after a nearly four-decade absence.

Benga Mining Ltd., a Calgary-based subsidiary of Australia’s Riversdale Resources Ltd., which is itself owned by Perth-based Hancock Company, is looking for approval to build an open-pit steelmaking coal mine near Crowsnest Pass, about a three-hour drive southwest of Calgary.

Although Riversdale is only proposing one mine, known as the Grassy Narrows Coal Project, other companies are also hoping to build mines in the area and approval or rejection of the project could be a bellwether for the fate of other developments. Continue Reading →

Mountaintop coal mine hearings to begin amidst fears of pollution, development rush – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/National Post – October 25, 2020)

A proposed coal mine that would create hundreds of jobs but shear off a mountaintop in one of Alberta’s most sensitive environments is to go to a public hearing this week.

Riversdale Resources, proponent of the Grassy Mountain steel-making coal project near the town of Blairmore in the province’s southwest, says the mine would create two decades of solid employment and improve a site scarred by previous development.

Environmental groups and some residents fear it could unleash toxic metals into the headwaters of the Oldman River watershed relied on by everything from endangered trout to downstream cities. They say an approval would open the door to similar large, open-pit mines up and down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Continue Reading →

Robert Murray, Outspoken Coal Miner Who Battled EPA, Dies at 80 – by Will Wade and Tim Loh (Bloomberg News – October 26, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Robert Murray, a fourth-generation coal miner who became one of the embattled industry’s most outspoken advocates, has died. He was 80.

Murray died early Sunday morning at his home in St. Clairsville, Ohio, of a lung disorder, according to Michael Shaheen, the family’s lawyer. He was diagnosed in 2016 with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease, and had been known to attend industry events with a portable oxygen container.

A native of Ohio coal country, Murray joined a mining company at 17 to help support his family. He rose through the ranks to become chief executive officer of North American Coal Corp., but was fired in 1987 after resisting an effort to trim the company’s obligations to retirees. Continue Reading →

Saving Wyoming coal communities: step one, change our image – by David Dodson (Casper Star Tribune – October 17, 2020)

Like it or not, much of America has a pretty poor opinion of coal. Two-thirds of Americans want the federal government to do more to reduce the effects of climate change, and three-quarters of our country want to see the country prioritize renewables over fossil fuels.

By the way, that view is not just held by liberal-Green New Deal-socialists. 49 percent of those who self-describe as “conservative” also want to see renewables prioritized over fossil fuels; and if that doesn’t surprise you, in states with coal mines, half the state’s population is in favor of phasing out all coal-fired power plants!

The Trump Administration did not bring back coal jobs for two reasons. First, as I’ve written in previous columns, coal’s true threat is not the Green New Deal but natural gas. Continue Reading →

Coal Miners Helped Shape America’s Labor Landscape. Their Industry Is Fading, But That History Is Worth Remembering – by Mark A. Bradley (Time Magazine – October 13, 2020)

Ahuge sigh of relief could be heard across the coalfields on Sept. 16 when Murray Energy Holdings, America’s fourth largest coal producer, announced that a federal bankruptcy judge had approved its Chapter 11 plan to sell all its assets to American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR), a new company set up by its former creditors.

ACNR is now the largest privately owned coal operator in the United States. Its owners hope to extract about 35 million tons of bituminous coal a year from its pits, and they have agreed to hire United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) coal miners, who once worked for Murray, to help them do it.

This is good news for the union’s sorely pressed coal miners, who could use the work. How long Murray’s reincarnation will last, however, is anyone’s guess. Continue Reading →