Archive | Coal

Indonesia’s mining giants race to adapt as investors cool on coal – by ERWIDA MAULIA (Nikkei Asia – February 22, 2021)

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s mining giants are piling into coal gasification projects as the country’s biggest export markets and global investors move toward a carbon-neutral future.

Coal gasification can be used to create a range of fuel products with lower emissions, an important consideration for investors increasingly concerned about environmental, social and corporate governance, or ESG, issues.

The moves also dovetail with the Indonesian government’s push to develop the downstream industry, rather than simply exporting raw natural resources. Continue Reading →

[Scotland] Looking back at the mining history of the Lothians and legacy of pit closures – by Alasdair Clark (Edinburgh Live – February 21, 2021)

A new book is shining fresh light on Lothians mining history, examining the impact of pit closures on local communities like those in Midlothian.

Written by Dr Ewan Gibbs, a historian from Glasgow, the book focusses on central Scotland and the communities that “owe their existence” to the rapid expansion of coal mining in Scotland.

It promises to examine the impact of the closure of Scotland’s coal mines, and the subsequent deindustrialization of communities which were once centred around coal mining. Continue Reading →

MINING THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT – by Randal Macnair ( – February 18, 2021)


The Rocky Mountains are one of the most iconic and biologically significant mountain ranges in the world. Stretching almost 5,000 kilometres from northern British Columbia to the arid reaches of the US Southwest, these spectacular mountains support a vast array of species and provide an essential corridor to maintain genetic diversity for grizzly bears throughout the continent.

Near the geographic centre of the Rockies is the region often referred to as the Crown of the Continent, an ecosystem that straddles international and provincial borders. So significant is this region that part of it has been declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

In this heart of the Rockies a story of two divergent approaches to resource extraction is taking place. The players are the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta and this story has a twist. The people of Alberta are saying enough is enough while British Columbia is full speed ahead. Continue Reading →

Top coal scientist warns Albertans of contamination from mining – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/CBC News Calgary – February 16, 2021)

One of North America’s top experts on pollution from coal mines is warning Albertans about the dangers of expanding the industry in the province’s Rocky Mountains.

“Expansion of coal-mining up the Alberta Rockies chain will absolutely produce an environmental disaster for fish and wildlife health in what are now pristine, high-quality watersheds,” Dennis Lemly wrote in an email to The Canadian Press.

Lemly is a retired U.S. government scientist who has published dozens of papers with hundreds of citations on coal-mining’s impact. Continue Reading →

Alberta reinstates 1976 coal policy in wake of public backlash and legal challenge – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – February 9, 2021)

In the wake of widespread public backlash and a legal challenge, the Alberta government has reinstated a restrictive 45-year-old coal mining policy ripped up by the province last year with no consultation.

However, coal exploration that has already been granted regulatory approval will be allowed to continue.

The province faced intense public pressure after killing Alberta’s 1976 Coal Policy, which provided extra protections for sensitive lands and crucial headwaters on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Continue Reading →

DirtyCo to CleanCo: How environmental pressure is shaking up the mining industry – and will soon reshape it – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – February 6, 2021)

In the global push to avert catastrophic climate change, investors’ new mantra is ESG – environmental, social and governance – and resource companies are looking for ways to sell, merge and change their businesses to follow the money

The mining industry is embarking on a black-to-green revolution that will almost certainly trigger an unprecedented wave of sales and mergers, reshaping the world’s top companies.

Industry bosses told The Globe and Mail that intense pressure from environmental, social and governance (ESG) investors to meet climate targets will prompt imaginative efforts by big mining companies to dump, or greatly reduce, their exposure to their dirtiest, most carbon-intensive assets – mostly coal, oil and iron ore – commodities that are taking on pariah status after having powered two centuries of industrialization.

“We are about to see a game-changing scenario,” said Mark Cutifani, the CEO of Anglo American , one of the world’s biggest diversified mining companies. “At some point soon, there will be a restructuring of businesses and assets, starting with thermal coal.” Continue Reading →

Majority of Albertans opposed to expanded coal mining operations: poll – by Mark Villani (CTV News Calgary – February 8, 2021)

CALGARY — A new survey suggests that a significant number of Albertans are opposed to the provincial government’s move to allow expanded coal mining operations in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.

The latest poll, released Monday by public relations firm ThinkHQ, suggests that more than three-quarters of Albertans are aware of the issue.

Among the 1,140 people surveyed from Feb. 2 to Feb. 6, nearly seven-in-ten (69 per cent) oppose expanded development of the formerly protected areas of the province. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Jason Kenney’s embrace of open-pit coal mining has united Albertans against him – by Max Fawcett (National Observer – February 3, 2021)

When it comes to bad ideas, they don’t get much worse than sinking $1.5 billion worth of taxpayer dollars into a pipeline project that depended on the continued support of the least popular American president in modern history.

But on that score, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney appears determined to outdo himself. In addition to picking a fight with the most powerful economy in the world, his government is trying to make it as easy as possible for foreign corporations to build open-pit coal mines in the province’s scenic Rocky Mountains.

Outside of openly rooting for the Vancouver Canucks, he probably couldn’t have found a better way to unite Albertans against him and his government. Continue Reading →

First Nations launch legal challenge to coal mining on Alberta’s Eastern Slopes – by Olivia Condon (Calgary Herald – February 4, 2021)

Siksika First Nation is launching a legal challenge against the province’s decision to rescind its coal policy, effectively allowing open-pit coal mining in the Rockies.

The coal policy, launched in 1976, aimed to protect parts of the Rocky Mountains from open-pit mining and designated the area, from Jasper to Waterton National Parks, into four categories.

Categories 1 and 2 restricted open pit mining, whereas categories 3 and 4 allowed it. Continue Reading →

REINVENTING THE STEEL: How steel might finally kick its coal habit – by Maria Gallucci ( – February 3, 2021)

About 70 percent of steel today is made how it’s always been
made: in giant, extremely hot furnaces. Purified coal, or
“coke,” is heated and melted with iron oxide and limestone,
then injected with oxygen to reduce the carbon content of
the mixture and to remove impurities.

Coal’s grip on the global electricity sector is loosening as more utilities and companies invest in renewable energy. But one major coal consumer — the steel industry — is finding it harder to kick its habit.

Steel companies make nearly 2 billion tons of high-strength material every year for bridges, buildings, railways, and roads. The furnaces that melt iron ore to make steel consume vast amounts of coal.

As a result, the industry accounts for roughly 8 percent of annual carbon dioxide emissions, as well as a toxic soup of air pollutants. Continue Reading →

Coal workers defend mining – by Tim Kalinowski (Lethbridge Herald – February 2, 2021)

Coal mine workers in Alberta say they understand the need to balance environmental concerns about their industry with the financial benefits derived from the product they produce.

“We have been clear on this: mining yes, but not everywhere, everytime,” says United Steelworkers Western Canadian director Stephen Hunt, whose union represents miners at the Wabaman Highvale mine.

“You also have to balance the interests of the broader public that are affected by mining. That is something we consider as well, and we think we are responsible in that (as an industry). Continue Reading →

Alberta promises close watch on new mines but cuts oversight of coal-polluted rivers – by Bob Weber (CTV News Edmonton – February 1, 2021)

Canadian Press – EDMONTON — Alberta government documents show repeated cuts to environmental monitoring despite contaminants in some waterways that exceed thresholds that are supposed to trigger increased scrutiny.

The province’s 2019 five-year monitoring plan shows stations on two rivers and a creek polluted with selenium from coal mines were mothballed. That was despite more than two decades of readings that Alberta Environment guidelines suggest should have led to closer attention.

The only station still operating is on the McLeod River about 200 kilometres downstream of the old Cheviot mine. The United Conservative government has pointed to “strict regulatory standards” in an increasingly heated debate over its plan to increase coal mining in the Rocky Mountains. Continue Reading →

Biden’s Attack on Climate Change Gives Surprise Reprieve to Coal – by Jennifer A. Dlouhy (Bloomberg News – Janauary 29, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden enlisted the entire U.S. government in the fight against climate change on Wednesday, even telling the Central Intelligence Agency to consider global warming a national security threat.

Yet he left out coal — the fossil fuel most widely blamed for global warming — when he froze the sale of leases to extract oil and gas from federal land.

It was a conspicuous omission for a president who has vowed to make the electric grid carbon-free by 2035 and who has said the world’s “future rests in renewable energy.” Continue Reading →

Contaminant from coal mines already high in some Alberta rivers: unreported data – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/CBC News Edmonton – January 25, 2021)

Some Alberta rivers and streams have already been heavily contaminated by coal mining, unreported government data suggests.

The province’s plan for large-scale expansion of the industry is fuelling widespread criticism that includes concerns over selenium pollution. The data shows that same contaminant has been found for years at high levels downstream of three mines and never publicly reported.

The findings raise questions about Alberta Environment, said a former senior official who has seen the data. “There were lots of [selenium] numbers and it was consistently above the water quality guidelines and in many cases way higher,” said Bill Donahue, the department’s one-time executive director of science. Continue Reading →

The Biden Administration Promises To Clean Up Mine Land and Create Jobs in Appalachia. Here Are Some Steps It Can Take. – by Anya Slepyan (Southerly Magazine – January 19, 2021)

A century of fossil fuel extraction has left Appalachia environmentally and economically degraded. With the coal industry on its last leg and company bankruptcies piling up, taxes that fund crucial public services are drying up; unemployment and poverty are worsening; abandoned mines are polluting and endangering communities.

On Jan. 20, Democrats will control both Congress and the White House for the first time in nearly 11 years — albeit by a slim majority in the Senate — and there’s potential to make significant progress in addressing some of these problems.

Past federal efforts have been ineffective at solving many of the root issues: persistent poverty, corporate land ownership, adverse health outcomes. Aside from a couple of federal programs, “central Appalachia has been largely ignored,” said Patrick McGinley, a law professor at West Virginia University who focuses on environmental law. Continue Reading →