Archive | Coal

After China-induced price spike, coal set to resume long-term decline – by Nina Chestney and Henning Gloystein (Reuters U.S. – July 24, 2017)

LONDON/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Coal prices’ march to eight-month highs, driven by China’s huge appetite for power consumption, looks like an interlude in a longer-term decline and is seen losing traction later this year.

Investors widely anticipate a slow demise for coal use due to policies encouraging cleaner natural gas and renewable energy generation, but the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a sharp reversal of fortunes.

Asia’s benchmark physical coal prices GCLNWCPFBMc1 have gained more than a third from lows seen in May to nearly $98 per ton, while European benchmark API2 2018 coal futures are at eight-month highs of around $74 a ton. Recent gains are largely due to high demand in China, where power consumption has jumped more than 6 percent since the beginning of the year. Continue Reading →

[Australia Mining] “This is Adani” -by Domanii Cameron (Townsville Bulletin – July 22, 2017)

INDIAN mining conglomerate Adani has launched a $1.4 million national advertising campaign in a bid to quash the myths that are plaguing the controversial Carmichael coal mine.

“This is Adani” kicked off today with the new branding to circulate across TV, radio, newspapers and digital sites. Adani Australia’s chief executive officer and Head of Country Jeyakumar Janakaraj said the campaign showed the “real Adani”.

“We will soon start the largest industrial project in Australia by an Indian company, an investment that will deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, and an investment that will generate more than $40 billion in state and Federal taxes and royalties,” he said. Continue Reading →

[Ontario] No business like coal business – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – July 21, 2017)

Premier Wynne back in black

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government is back in black – meaning the coal business. Specifically, the use of coal to generate electricity, a practice it outlawed in Ontario on Nov. 23, 2015, after shutting down the last of the province’s coal-fired power plants in 2014.

As the Wynne Liberals proudly proclaimed back then: “Ontario passed legislation today to permanently ban coal-fired electricity generation in the province – a first in North America and a significant step in the fight against climate change.

“The Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act prevents new and existing facilities from burning coal for the sole purpose of generating electricity. It sets maximum fines for anyone who violates the ban and enshrines the health and environmental benefits of making coal-fired electricity illegal in law … Continue Reading →

Trump’s Coal Revival Vow Emboldens Miners to Shun Career Change – by Daniel Flatley (July 20, 2017)

Retraining reticence for in-demand health care jobs is part economic and part cultural

West Virginia is so strongly associated with coal that the state flag features a miner with pickax over his shoulder. A nurse with a stethoscope might be more fitting.

Last year, WVU Medicine, a network of hospitals under the state’s flagship public university, dethroned Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the top employer. What’s more, six out of the top 10 employers in the state were hospitals and health-care providers. Murray American Energy Inc., a large coal company operating in the region, dropped to 15th place from sixth.

That same story is told another way with labor-market data. Mining jobs in the state fell by 25 percent between 2012 and 2016. At the same time, West Virginia health-care jobs have been mushrooming, and account for one of every five private-sector positions in the state, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a research group. Continue Reading →

Coal Mine Crackdown Dims Prospects for Mongolia’s Fortune Seekers (Voice Of America – July 12, 2017)

ULAANBAATAR — Working 50 meters (164 feet) under ground with minimal air supply, Uuganbaatar is one of thousands of Mongolians trying to make a living digging for coal.

Although the mining season does not begin until autumn, when the ground freezes and work is safer, the 31-year-old and his colleagues are seeking to gain a head start by digging a shaft in Nalaikh, one of the nine districts of Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, in late June.

But their mine could soon be shut by the government, which has launched an unprecedented crackdown on sites that don’t meet safety standards. That would mean even fewer opportunities for Mongolia’s individual prospectors, who have already been hit hard by the privatization of mines previously open to all. Continue Reading →

Germany’s Blood Coal – by Andreas Macho (Handelsblatt Global – July 13, 2017)

Activists say that demand for cheap Colombian coal from German utilities such as Uniper and RWE is leading to systematic killings and evictions in the country.

It’s not often that the subject of murder is raised at a shareholder meeting. So it’s fair to say that the comments made by Maina van der Zwan at the otherwise uneventful AGM of German energy company Uniper were unexpected.

Holding up a grainy picture of a Colombian man, the activist at Dutch NGO Pax announced: “He was the spokesman for a community which had opposed the expansion plans of a mining company in the Colombian region of Cesar. On September 11, he was murdered in cold blood.” Continue Reading →

Al Gore to PM: ‘Malcolm, don’t build the mine’ – by Nick Whigham ( – July 11, 2017)

FORMER United States Vice President Al Gore has a message from our Prime Minister: “Malcolm, don’t build the mine.” He is, of course, referring to the government’s plan to allow Indian mining conglomerate Adani to build a mega-mine in North Queensland known as the Carmichael coal mining project.

Mr Gore is in Australia ahead of the release of An Inconvenient Sequel, the follow up to his Oscar-winning 2006 documentary on global warming. The movie follows Mr Gore as he travels the world giving his famous power point presentation and meeting politicians while championing the need for renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels.

When asked by if he’d ever tried to persuade the Australian government from pursuing the controversial mining project, he seized the opportunity. “Well if he’s watching, Malcolm don’t build the mine,” he said. “That’s a direct way to do it.” Continue Reading →

Century-old underground [coal] fires stop trains in India amid passenger safety fears – by S.N.M. Abdi (Al Arabiya English – July 11, 2017)

Underground fires burning for more than a century have forced authorities in India to evacuate a college and stop railway operations in the dangerous zone lest passenger trains fall into the inferno below the surface.

The first underground fires in Jharia coalfields of Jharkhand state in eastern India were reported way back in 1916 and all attempts to extinguish them have miserably failed so far. To prevent deaths, Bhagatdih’s historic Raja Shiv Prasad College, which has 6000 students on its rolls, has just been shifted to a safer site in Jamadoba six km away

And as more and more land in the affected area has started cracking or caving in due to subterranean fires, railway officials have decided not to run passenger trains on the 41-km stretch between Chandrapura and Dhanbad. Continue Reading →

Community’s long history seen as a gift by residents – by Elizabeth Patterson (Cape Breton Post – July 8, 2017)

SYDNEY MINES – If you offered Sheila MacCormick a chance to buy a brand new house, she probably wouldn’t be that interested. MacCormick lives in a brick and stone home that was built in 1853 for a mine office manager by the name of Sutherland who worked for the General Mining Association. It comes complete with hardwood peg floors, five fireplaces and uneven windows and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I just love old buildings and old things,” MacCormick told The Cape Breton Post at a heritage display and storytelling session at Holy Family Church hall on Saturday. “It’s got a lot of history and I just love it.”

MacCormick is just one of about three dozen people who attended the session held to mark Heritage Day in Sydney Mines. While the morning event, an outdoor heritage hunt, didn’t attract a lot of people mainly due to poor weather, many instead came in the afternoon to hear a discussion led by Ronald Labelle, Cape Breton Regional Library’s storyteller-in-residence. Continue Reading →

Coal no longer fuels America. But the legacy — and the myth — remain – by Karen Heller (Washington Post – July 9, 2017)

Boone County claims to be the birthplace of America’s coal industry, the rich and abundant black rock discovered in these verdant hills almost three centuries ago. Coal gives name to nearly everything in these parts — the Big and Little Coal rivers, the weekly Coal Valley News, the wondrous Bituminous Coal Heritage Foundation Museum and the West Virginia Coal Festival, celebrating, as we arrive in town, its 24th year.

The festival is more state fair than true celebration of coal. There’s a carnival, a talent competition, seven beauty queens (from Little Miss Coal Festival to Forever West Virginia Coal Queen).

Late in the afternoon of the second day, high on a hill graced with the statue of a miner, there’s a small memorial service for the West Virginia men who died on the job over the previous year. The most recent was 32-year-old Rodney Osbourne, pinned by mining equipment on June 14. Continue Reading →

Jim Pattison warns B.C. to stand down on threat of thermal coal levy – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – June 28, 2017)

VANCOUVER — B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison, the largest shareholder in a coal-exporting site in British Columbia, has a message for Victoria – keep your hands off thermal coal shipped from Westshore Terminals Investment Corp.

The BC Liberal government, which wants to impose a hefty carbon levy on thermal coal exports from B.C. ports, might be toppled as early as Thursday by an alliance of the BC NDP and Greens. The Greens support such a carbon tax, though BC NDP Leader John Horgan hasn’t made it a top political priority.

Industry observers say Mr. Horgan, should he become B.C. premier, is unlikely to act as swiftly on thermal coal as Premier Christy Clark pledged to do during the campaign for the May 9 provincial election. But Westshore still faces the political threat of a clampdown on thermal coal, which is used by power plants to generate electricity. Continue Reading →

Mine boy tended mules underground – by Bill White (The Morning Call – June 28, 2017)

I have a great little coal mine story to share, and while I’m at it, I’ll include some of the other reminiscences and other reactions to my latest coal cracker columns. Just to review, I wrote Sunday about my tour of the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum in Lansford and the week before about the Lehigh Anthracite surface mining operation in Tamaqua. Previous columns have featured people’s memories about life in the mines and in the coal region.

I got this first story over the phone, but I’ll repeat it more or less in the words of the caller, Robert Weed, 87, of Bethlehem, who got his only coal-mining experience in the Hudson Coal Co. mine in Peckville, Lackawanna County.

“I was 7 going on 8 years of age, and I desperately wanted a bicycle,” he said. “My father worked for the Hudson Coal Co. up in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area, and he found me a job so I could earn money to buy a bicycle. “I went for nine months, I believe. At 5:15 in the morning, I rode the tram with the mine superintendent, I believe 180 feet underground. [The superintendent was there to walk the mine with a canary in a cage to check for methane gas.] Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto shareholders okay $2.69 billion coal assets sale to China-backed Yancoal – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – June 29, 2017)

SYDNEY – Rio Tinto shareholders approved the sale of a suite of Australian coal assets to China-backed Yancoal Australia for $2.69 billion, ending a bidding war with commodities trader Glencore.

The sale was approved by 97 percent of shareholders of Rio Tinto’s UK and Australian-listed shares, Rio Tinto said on Thursday in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.

Rio Tinto Chairman Jan du Plessis said funds from the sale had yet to be allocated within the company amid some calls by shareholders to use the money to boost dividends or buy back shares. Continue Reading →

How Yancoal and Glencore Can Bury the Hatchet – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – June 27, 2017)

The world’s biggest coal consumer and the largest commodity trader are fighting over a rich seam of the black stuff. They’d be better off working together.

Shareholders of Rio Tinto Group’s U.K. listing were voting Tuesday on whether to accept a $2.69 billion offer to buy Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. from Yancoal Australia Ltd., which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese government.

Rio Tinto’s management has declared the proposal superior to a bid from Glencore Plc, which has adjacent mines in Australia’s Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, and has coveted Rio Tinto’s deposit for the best part of a decade. Continue Reading →

Why coal mining is resurgent in the U.S., China and India (CBS News – June 26, 2017)

Associated Press: BEIJING — The U.S., China and India are going back to the coal mines. These three countries, the world’s biggest coal users, have boosted coal mining in 2017, in an abrupt departure from last year’s record global decline for the heavily polluting fuel and a setback to efforts to rein in climate change emissions.

Mining data reviewed by The Associated Press show that production through May is up by at least 121 million tons, or 6 percent, for the three countries compared to the same period last year. The change is most dramatic in the U.S., where coal mining rose 19 percent in the first five months of the year, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.

Coal’s fortunes had appeared to hit a new low less than two weeks ago, when British energy company BP reported that tonnage mined worldwide fell 6.5 percent in 2016, the largest drop on record. China and the U.S. accounted for almost all the decline, while India showed a slight increase. Continue Reading →