Archive | Coal

Adani ditches plan to build rail line for Carmichael coalmine Lisa Cox and Austalian Associated Press (The Guardian – September 13, 2018)

Adani has ditched plans to build a new rail line from Abbot Point to get coal out of Queensland’s Galilee Basin, opting for a cut-price solution using existing lines.

The Indian miner had planned to build a new 388km line from its controversial Carmichael mine to Abbot Point for export, but now says it will “instead leverage existing rail infrastructure”.

The new proposal will make use of the existing Aurizon rail infrastructure that runs to Abbot Point. A new narrow-gauge rail line of about 200 km would be constructed to connect the existing network to the Carmichael mine site, reducing the length of the track Adani would have to build by 188km, and significantly reducing the cost. Continue Reading →

Coal Shows Resilience in Global Comeback – by Neanda Salvaterra (Wall Street Journal – September 3, 2018)

Asian and African countries are counting on the hydrocarbon to expand access to electricity

Coal is clinging to the top spot in power generation, accounting for as much of the world’s electricity as it did two decades ago, despite heightened concerns about climate change and a slowdown in financing for projects involving the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

U.S. exports of coal more than doubled in 2017 and are set to grow this year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Countries across Asia and Africa are expected to increase their use of coal for expanding power generation through 2040, says the EIA.

The rebound shows coal’s resilience, especially in emerging regions, and recent events suggest the market for black combustible rock will remain strong. In the U.S., the Trump administration has proposed to reverse U.S. rules on coal emissions, and countries including India and Vietnam are planning major coal projects. Continue Reading →

Is Illinois coal industry poised for a comeback? – by Robert W. Steyer (St. Louis Public Radio – September 10, 2018)

Is Illinois coal industry poised for a comeback? After two decades of plunging and then stagnating coal production, the Illinois coal industry believes it can see some light at the end of the mine shaft.

“The prospects are better than any time since 1970,” says Joe Angleton, who has viewed the declining coal industry as a member and officer of the United Mine Workers of America and, most recently, as director of the office of mines and minerals in the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“In five years, we could see 65 million to 70 million tons a year,” says Angleton. That would exceed the annual production in the 1970s and 1980s. This year, Angleton expects 33 million tons. Continue Reading →

Last man out after 1958 Springhill mine disaster dead at 95 – by Anjuli Patil (CBC News Nova Scotia – September 9, 2018)

Herbert Pepperdine spent more than 8 days underground after deadly 1958 bump

The last man to emerge from the ground after the 1958 Springhill mining disaster has died at age 95. An obituary posted Sunday for Herbert Pepperdine stated the former coal miner died Friday in hospital in Springhill, N.S.

“He was just a treasure to the community. He started working in the mines when he was 14 years old and even after ’58, after he was trapped eight-and-a-half days, he works 10 more years in the last working mine that was in Springhill,” said Tony Somers, a tour guide at the Springhill Miners Museum.

The disaster, known as the bump (like an underground earthquake), occurred Oct. 23, 1958. There were 175 men in the mine at the time; 75 of them were killed. While Pepperdine would occasionally talk about the 1958 disaster, Somers said it wasn’t something he enjoyed. Continue Reading →

India boosts purchases of Indonesian coal as prices drop – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – September 6, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – One of the standout commodity performers this year has been thermal coal, but not all coal is created equal and disparities in pricing may help explain why India’s imports have stayed strong despite the higher costs.

The main benchmark for thermal coal in Asia is priced at Australia’s Newcastle Port, the world’s largest coal-export harbor. The price has gained 11.8 percent so far this year, to close at $114.66 a tonne in the week to Sept. 2, according to assessments by Argus Media.

This isn’t far off the 6-1/2 year high of nearly $120 a tonne hit in July, with the price surge this year largely coming on the back of increased Chinese demand for coal to be burned in power stations. Continue Reading →

Glencore unperturbed by hostility to coal as price rises 21% in a year – by David McKay ( – September 3, 2018)

THE condemnation of companies with significant exposure to fossil fuels is steadily growing with banks, institutional investors, and even the companies engaged in coal mining, for instance, beginning to turn their backs on a fuel that once stoked the fires of enrichment.

Not so for Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore. His company may be facing a potential US Department of Justice investigation for business activities in districts as far apart as Venezuela and Nigeria, relating to another fuel, oil, but Glencore’s eye remains fixed on thermal coal. Why? It makes good money and right now, it makes lots of it especially as even European coal prices hit $100/t – the highest since 2013.

At $115/t currently, the price of thermal coal is 21% higher year-on-year. Metallurgical coal prices 11% lower year-on-year but are still at about $180/t. Continue Reading →

Barentsburg aims to move from dirty coal to become gateway for Russia’s Arctic tourism – by Thomas Nilsen (The Barents Observer – September 3, 2018)

For visitors, the Russian town on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago combines the contrasts of pristine Arctic beauty and Soviet style industry. Nowadays, however, Barentsburg is reshaping its business-focus to become a modern Russian hub for explorer travellers.

Walking the wooden, steep stairway from the port to new hotel is a ten minutes tour-de-divergence. If you look north, the midnight sunset colours the fjord and the glacier in the horizon in Arctic bright orange. Look south, and the far-away glacier is partly hidden by smoke stacks polluting the horizon with the same blackish colour as the coal piles covering the permafrost.

In times of climate changes, the view couldn’t be more contradictory; a coalmine with a smoky coal power plant in front of a melting glacier. In recent years, the Arctic, and especially Svalbard, has warmed twice as much as the rest of the planet. Presumably owing to warming, most of the glacier retreat rates on Svalbard have increased several folds in recent decades. That includes the Grønfjord glacier just south of Barentsburg. Continue Reading →

Hambach: the battle between a forest and a coal mine threatens Germany’s environmental image – by Irene Banos Ruiz (Deutsche Welle – August 30, 2018)

Hambach Forest in western Germany has become a symbol of resistance to coal mining, but its days may well be numbered. Can protesters save Germany’s green image as an environmental and climate champion?

Hambach forest in western Germany looks like an idyllic spot, with a community of some 150 people living in tree houses and walking around barefoot. But appearances are deceptive. These are protesters who have set themselves the tough task of protecting the forest from being sacrificed to a giant opencast mine to extract lignite or brown coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels.

The energy company RWE plans to expand the nearby Hambach mine, already Europe’s biggest open pit coal mine. That means chopping down the forest, which has become symbolic of the battle between fossil fuel concerns and environmentalists. Continue Reading →

Coal industry between a rock and a hard place – by Henry Sanderson(Financial Times – August 28, 2018)

Mining companies divided as investor pressure mounts while short-term gains entice

A push to reduce the development of coal mines along with increasing pressure from investors to divest from fossil fuels is creating a split in the mining industry between companies exiting the sector and those vowing to remain.

Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland are among banks that have stopped lending for new coal mines, and spending on new projects has fallen 80 per cent from $10bn in 2012 to $2.2bn in 2018, according to analysts at Citi.

This trend, plus a government-led campaign in China to cut domestic coal supply to reduce pollution, has caused the coal price to almost double over the past three years to trade at $113 a tonne. Continue Reading →

Merkel Allies Pressure Her to Keep Coal Plants Running – by Brian Parkin and William Wilkes (Bloomberg News – August 22, 2018)

Germany’s states are upping pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to keep coal-fired power for as long as 30 years as the nation approaches a deadline for setting an exit date from the fossil fuel.

Merkel’s administration is committed to shuttering about 120 lignite and hard-coal plants to cut emissions and plans to set a final exit point in October. As the deadline nears, six states where coal power is concentrated have banded together to keep an extended lifeline for the stations.

“A 25- to 30-year time frame to close the chapter on coal power is realistic,” said Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer in an interview in Leipzig on Tuesday. “We need time to reset regional economies now dependent on coal.” Continue Reading →

The curious contradictions of Trump’s coal fixation – by Liam Denning (Globe and Mail/Bloomberg – August 23, 2018)

There is a curiously retro aspect to the energy policies of the Trump administration, with its embrace of resource nationalism and love of extraction over efficiency. Coal, so redolent of the age of Bismarck, is its touchstone.

And while the latest attempt to make coal competitive again, the Affordable Clean Energy proposal, is quite obviously not going to do much to revive coal-fired power in the U.S., it does highlight the contradictions in the White House’s broader approach to energy.

“ACE” would, among other things, shift away from pushing power producers to ditch coal in favor of cleaner fuels and technologies toward encouraging more modest upgrades to existing plants. It would also give states much more discretion in setting regulations for carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-India’s surging coal imports driven by captive power users – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – August 20, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 20 (Reuters) – India’s coal imports appear headed for another strong month in August, raising the question as to why the usually cost-sensitive market hasn’t scaled back purchases given a surge in prices to the highest in nearly seven years.

Total coal imports may reach 17.7 million tonnes in August, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters.

This figure may be revised as it becomes clearer when ships will arrive and discharge their cargoes, but the August imports are likely to be more or less in line with the 17.4 million tonnes imported in July, which was the strongest monthly outcome so far in 2018. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: 2018 Conference Focus will focus on “Canada’s Coal Industry: Driving Global Growth”

EDMONTON, AB, August 21, 2018 – As coal continues to make headlines at home and abroad, experts and industry leaders from Canada and around the world will gather at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, British Columbia from September 12-14 to discuss the state of the coal industry and what lies ahead.

The 2018 conference will focus on “Canada’s Coal Industry: Driving Global Growth” and explore all components of the coal chain in Canada and why our product is critical for expanding populations around the world. Delegates will hear from a range of industry leaders, experts and scholars throughout the three-day conference.

“Our goal is to provide a conference that unifies our membership and speaks to the challenges at hand. We can truly be a catalyst to international growth. Our premium Canadian coals are highly valued, both at home and abroad,” says Mark Bartkoski, Chairman of the CAC and President of Conuma Coal Resources. Continue Reading →

Trump Proposes Unwinding Obama’s Coal-Plant Pollution Curbs – by Jennifer A Dlouhy (Bloomberg News – August 21, 2018)

President Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday unveiled its plan to dramatically weaken pollution limits on coal-fired power plants by shifting most of the regulatory burden to states in a further assault on the Obama climate legacy.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s “Affordable Clean Energy” proposal would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan’s sweeping changes in the U.S. electricity mix with more modest emissions curbs at individual power plants.

It would set pollution guidelines based on assumptions about what improvements could be eked out through efficiency upgrades at the facilities, then give states the latitude to design their own plans for paring carbon dioxide emissions at the sites. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Best commodity bets? Exposed to China and less open to trade – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – August 16, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 16 (Reuters) – The recent gyrations in the world economy around Turkey’s currency and the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute have taken a toll on commodity prices, especially industrial metals.

However, while news-driven sentiment can clearly pummel markets, over a longer period of time not all commodities will be equally affected by the changing global economic dynamics. The key to which commodities are likely to perform better is China, which is the world’s largest commodity importer.

Even if the Chinese economy does struggle under the weight of the trade barriers erected by U.S. President Donald Trump, there are still likely to be commodities that can hold their own. The key is to look for commodities that are likely to remain in relatively high demand, and are subject to supply constraints. Continue Reading →