Archive | Coal

Concerns raised over open-pit mining in Crowsnest Pass – by Tyler Barrow (CTV News – September 15, 2020)

CROWSNEST PASS, ALTA. — After the UCP government announced in May it was rescinding the 1976 Coal Mining Policy that prohibits open-pit operations in the Rocky Mountains and foothills, several proposals have been put forward, which officials say could lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs in the Crowsnest Pass area.

“As long as we follow the environmental policies, I absolutely, fully support industry because it’s creating jobs, it’s giving out kids a future,” said Garett Schmidt who uses the area to quad. “We can’t have people jobless and homeless, we’re resource-rich.”

An Australian company has bid to build the Grassy Mountain Coal project — a 2,800-hectare coal mine north of Blairmore, Alta. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Coal mining in Alberta must be carefully assessed before allowing expansion – by Bill Trafford (Calgary Herald – September 11, 2020)

Bill Trafford is president of the Livingstone Landowners’ Group., which represents landowners and supporters of the Livingstone-Porcupine area in southwest Alberta.

In his piece in the Calgary Herald on Aug. 26, Robin Campbell, president of the Coal Association of Canada, asks that the true facts about coal mining become known. Unfortunately, in his article, Mr. Campbell ignores multiple inconvenient truths.

He writes as if the Vista decision was the only coal mine that Ottawa decided to review. More accurately, there will now be reviews of two proposed mines, one in Alberta and one in B.C. Continue Reading →

Beijing May Be More Addicted to Coal Than Oil – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – September 5, 2020)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — There’s one surprise entrant in the group of oil companies announcing plans this year for how they’ll reduce emissions: PetroChina Co.

China’s oil companies, unlike their peers in the U.S. and particularly Europe, don’t traditionally treat climate targets as a major issue. Beijing, after all, isn’t even promising to hit its emissions peak until 2030.

The large fund managers that have been pressuring Western oil companies to improve their carbon commitments don’t make much difference, either. PetroChina’s chairman, Dai Houliang, is a Communist bureaucrat whose more significant job is party secretary of state-owned parent China National Petroleum Corp. Continue Reading →

Trump Made a Promise to Save Coal in 2016. He Couldn’t Keep It – by Ari Natter and Will Wade (Bloomberg News – September 3, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump spent more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds, rolled back environmental rules and tried to stop power plant closings to fulfill a vow he made to West Virginia coal miners in the 2016 campaign.

But nothing he’s done is rescuing the coal industry. Since Trump’s inauguration, U.S. coal production—after a slight uptick in 2017—is expected to be down 31% this year from 2016 levels.

By some estimates, more than five dozen coal-burning power plants have closed and although mining jobs remained steady before dropping this year, they didn’t increase. Continue Reading →

Alberta company seeks judicial review of Ottawa’s reversal on Vista coal mine – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – September 1, 2020)

A company seeking to expand its Alberta coal mine is taking the federal government to court, arguing Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson overstepped his jurisdiction to appease “political activists” when he decided to review the project.

Mr. Wilkinson decided last December to keep the federal government out of the approvals process for expansion of the Vista coal mine, located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains about 40 kilometres east of Jasper National Park.

But last month he changed his mind, saying the project would have “significant” environmental effects that fall under federal jurisdiction, triggering the need for an assessment. Continue Reading →

Poland’s coal phase-out ‘feasible’ by 2035 – by ELENA SÁNCHEZ NICOLÁS (EU Observer – August 2020)

Poland’s coal phaseout should take place by 2035 if the government does not interfere, according to a new report of the environmental group Greenpeace Polska.

Polish state-run utilities PGE, Enea, and Tauron, which own 94 percent of coal-fired power plants in the country, are expected to close by 2035 because of their life plan and unfavourable market conditions.

However, Greenpeace is concerned that the Polish authorities will extend the operating life of these utilities after national media uncovered that the government plans to subsidise coal-fired plants until 2040. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Politics should not block contributions of coal mining – by Robin Campbell (Calgary Herald – August 26, 2020)

Robin Campbell is president of the Coal Association of Canada.

It is high time that we, as individuals, as communities and especially as governments, recognize and appreciate the positive contributions of coal mining in Canada.

Currently, the message is skewed and riddled with inaccurate depictions of coal mines, often ignoring the facts and painting the entire global industry with one brush. Coal mining has become a hot button issue and we are seeing elected officials overturning decisions based on external pressures and ignoring expert analysis from government agencies.

The result is harm to coal mining communities, threats to the full supply chain from shovel to ship, increased regulatory uncertainty and a further chill on investment in Canada’s resource sector that has been worsening over the past number of years. Continue Reading →

Traditional Owners Block Access to Australia’s Adani Carmichael Coal Mine – by Gavin Butler (Vice News – August 26, 2020)

A throng of more than 20 protesters—including Traditional Owners of local Wangan and Jagalingou country—has blocked the main road to Australia’s Adani Carmichael coal mine in a bid to re-establish control of the land and force the mining giant to abandon the project.

The blockade is preventing workers from accessing the construction site for the thermal coal mine, which, when completed, is set to be one of the world’s largest.

With the capacity to generate an annual output of 60 million tonnes of coal, it’s estimated that the mine could singlehandedly put twice as much carbon into the atmosphere as Tokyo every year. Continue Reading →

Trump Promised a Coal Comeback But America’s Miners Need an Energy Revolution – by Josh Eidelson (Bloomberg News – August 25, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Bobby Stevens’s backup plan for his backup plan encountered an obstacle a few months ago.

In March the coronavirus pandemic closed the Kentucky government building where he was set to take his commercial driver’s license test, which he started studying for after he got dismissed by his second coal company in a year, where he’d started working after the first one went bankrupt.

The bankruptcy of coal giant Blackjewel LLC, which terminated Stevens and about 1,700 other workers in four states, made international news last summer when some of them blocked railroad tracks in Harlan County, Ky., over unpaid wages. Continue Reading →

REGULATIONS: MAC slams fed decision to join environmental review of Teck’s Castle project (Canadian Mining Journal – August 20, 2020)

OTTAWA – Canada’s national association for miners, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), is weighing in on the federal government’s decision to review Teck Resources‘ proposed Castle Mountain metallurgical coal project in B.C., saying the additional review is unnecessary as the project is already undergoing a rigorous provincial environmental review process, and accusing the government of making a political decision.

“We are very disheartened by the federal government’s decision on the Castle project given the expansion fell well below the threshold to being subject to the Impact Assessment Act (IAA),” said Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of MAC.

“This decision certainly has the potential to lead to longer timelines at a time of unprecedented global economic uncertainty.” Continue Reading →

Mining association has buyer’s remorse over Bill C-69 – by Nelson Bennett (Business In Vancouver – August 20, 2020)

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC), which bought into the Trudeau government’s plan to improve the federal environmental review process though Bill C-69, appears to be having some buyer’s remorse.

And it warns that this week’s decision by federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to subject the Castle metallurgical coal project in B.C. to a federal review may send a cold shiver up the collective spine of the mining sector in Canada, as well as international investors.

Teck Resources (TSX:TECK.B) wants to extend the life of its Fording River coal mine by stripping nearby Castle Mountain for metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel. Continue Reading →

Coal’s Days May Be Over in the U.S. – by Justin Fox (Bloomberg News – August 17, 2020)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Last year, there were 38 days when U.S. utilities got more electricity from hydroelectric, wind and solar generation than from coal, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

So far this year, according to the IEEFA and my own crunching of U.S. Energy Information Administration data, it’s already 122 — including every day in the month of April and all but three in May.

In the summer months, higher electricity demand and decreased production from wind turbines and dams give coal a seasonal boost, but expect renewables to start outgenerating it again in the fall. Continue Reading →

What Trump got wrong by pushing coal – by Carolyn Kissane (The Hill – August 9, 2020)

While campaigning in Columbus, Ohio, in March 2016, Hillary Clinton said something that she later cited as the comment she “regret[s] the most” from her presidential run.

Clinton announced that she would put coal miners and companies out of business if she became president. Her comments likely cost her significant support across the coal-mining states of Ohio, Kentucky, Wyoming, Montana and Pennsylvania.

In the end, it wasn’t Clinton who put the hurt on coal country but instead the rapidly declining costs of renewable energy, especially solar and wind, uber-cheap natural gas and an array of states and cities with ambitious climate change action plans requiring sharp reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Continue Reading →

Scientists find efficient way to extract REE from acid mine drainage – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – August 9, 2020)

Researchers at Penn State University developed a two-stage treatment process for acid mine drainage that enabled them to recover higher concentrations of rare earth elements using smaller amounts of chemicals than previously possible.

In a paper published in the Chemical Engineering Journal, the scientists say that AMD from coal mining operations in Appalachia represents a promising domestic source of REE because it often contains high concentrations of the minerals and because it is already being collected and treated due to environmental concerns.

This residue is produced when pyrite rock — iron sulphide — unearthed by mining activity interacts with water and air and then oxidizes, creating sulfuric acid. Continue Reading →

Tommy Knockers and the coal mines: A PA legend – by Emma Downey (North Central – August 8, 2020)

The coal mines of Pennsylvania were dark, dirty, and deadly. Among the many stories, folksongs, and superstitions of the coal miners comes the legend of a curious creature: The Tommy Knocker.

Tommy Knockers pronounced “knacker,” were described as small, little men who worked alongside the miners inside the mines. The creatures were known to be mischievous, described as stealing miners’ tools or food, but also benevolent helpers.

The creatures were blamed for missing tools and stolen items as well as saving the lives of many miners. The miners believed the creatures would “knock” on the side of the mine to warn miners of an impending collapse. Continue Reading →