January 29, 2015


It’s official: China’s coal consumption fell in 2014

“For the first time this century China’s coal consumption has fallen, according to preliminary data from both the Chinese Coal Industry Association and the National Energy Administration (NEA). The amount by which coal use declined last year remains an open question, with the Coal Industry Association reporting a reduction of around 3.5 per cent but NEA data showing a fall of only 0.4 per cent,” writes Lauri Myllyvirta from Greenpeace International.
Suggested Tweet: It’s official: #China’s #coal consumption fell in 2014 http://bit.ly/1z3LCYR  writes @laurimyllyvirta at Greenpeace's @energydesk

BHP’s Latest Numbers Offer a Window on an Industry in Decline

“The recent half-year production numbers out of BHP Billiton are more than a snapshot of one giant energy company: They’re a window on the world’s larger ailing coal-mining industry. The figures show that BHP – like other big miners that include Rio Tinto, Vale SA, and Anglo American – is gradually exiting its under-performing coal group,” writes Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis.

Suggested Tweet: #BHPBilliton’s latest numbers reveal #coal industry in decline http://bit.ly/1EnUdtI @ieefa_institute #RioTinto #Vale #AngloAmerican


Chao Los Robles: Chilean Citizens Movement Celebrates Coal Plant Victory

“Communities living along central Chile’s scenic Maule coast are celebrating the collapse of the proposal to build the Los Robles coal-fired power station. On January 26 the permit authorising construction of the plant expired, effectively cancelling the project. In a symbolic act, the ‘Citizens Action Movement for the Defense of the Maule Coast’ held a vigil and massive bonfire to celebrate the death of the Los Robles coal plant after their epic seven-year struggle,” writes Aviva Imhof on endcoal.org.

Suggested Tweet:  #Chile Citizens Movement Celebrates Victory in Stopping Los Robles #Coal Plant writes @avivaimhof http://bit.ly/1zAVuMX #chaolosrobles

“Just as a worker celebrating their 65th birthday can settle into a more sedate lifestyle while they look back on past achievements, we argue that thermal coal has reached its retirement age,”

wrote Goldman Sachs analysts in a recently-released note on the prospects for thermal coal.

top news

Obama’s trip to India bolsters renewables: While President Barack Obama’s discussions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi avoided explicit commitments on climate, support for coal power was notably missing from the joint statement. Instead, the two countries agreed on funding for a research program into smart grid and renewable energy storage technology and support for super-efficient off-grid appliances. In addition, the US Export-Import Bank will provide up to US$1 billion in funding for clean energy projects. (White House, RenewEconomy)

Doubts raised about CCS: A study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has estimated that carbon dioxide pumped deep underground as part of a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project may solidify far less than previously thought. “If it stays in its gaseous or liquid phase, it remains mobile and it can possibly return back to the atmosphere,” said Yossi Cohen, one of the authors of the study. (Bloomberg, Proceedings of the Royal Society)
Growing protests against gutting Indian land laws: The Modi Government is facing increasing protests against its ordinance weakening legislative protections for the land rights of tribal groups and farmers. The Modi Government ordinance is designed to expedite mines, power stations and other major projects. A dozen farmers’ unions have announced plans for a 100,000-strong rally in Delhi on March 18. (Hindustan Times, Times of India)

Peabody Energy makes coal advocacy a top priority: In its statement to investors on its 2014 results, Peabody Energy announced that one of its top five “focus areas” for 2015 was pro-coal advocacy. The company will “increase global understanding of coal mining and use by advancing awareness and advocacy around sustainable mining, energy access and clean coal solutions”. (Peabody Energy)

“One of the great potentials for India and one of the great necessities for the world is that we find ways to lift people out of poverty and provide them power in ways that are sustainable and allow you to leap-frog over some of the dirty development strategies of the past directly into the clean strategies of the future,”

US President Barack Obama told a US-India Business Council summit in New Delhi.


Australia: Anglo American looks to offload five Australian mines.

Australia: Acclaimed country music singer arrested for protest against Maules Creek mine.

India: Greenpeace activist launches legal challenge against international travel ban.
US: Farmers oppose three Montana bills to limit appeal rights and set coal-friendly pollution limits.

US: Montana Supreme Court backs Cloud Peak Energy’s appeal over state taxes.

Vietnam: Electricity growth over 20 per cent lower than government’s 2011 forecast.

“Thermal power is vilified in the current push for renewables. We are considered to be dirty – we are the bad guys … We deliver electricity at the most competitive prices without subsidies and we respect market conditions. But the fact is that nobody believes us. We are not taken seriously,”

said Dr Emmanouil Kakaras, the President of the European Power Plant Suppliers Association.

companies + markets

Kosovo pushes Montenegro for new railway: On a recent visit to Montenegro, the Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, lobbied for approval of an approximately 130-kilometre long railway between the two countries. The railway would enable coal imports for Kosovo’s power stations, including its controversial proposed new Kosovo C power plant. The proposed railway is estimated to cost US$1.3 billion. (Journal of Turkish Weekly)

Global coal prices keep on falling: Analysts are predicting that global thermal and metallurgical coal prices will continue to fall due to slowing Chinese import demand, the commissioning of new metallurgical coal mines and limited closure of existing mines. The appreciation of the US dollar against the currencies of major exporters such as Russia and Australia is also undermining US export markets. Goldman Sachs estimates that the long-term price for Newcastle thermal coal will be approximately US$65. (Bloomberg, Reuters)
Chinese coal province puts freeze on new mines: Shanxi, China’s largest coal-producing province, has announced that it will not approve new mine proposals in the next five years. The provincial government has also announced that there will also be a three-year moratorium on open-cut expansions to mines which have a capacity of less than five million tonnes per annum. (Xinhua)

Chinese steel consumption falls: Chinese crude steel consumption fell by approximately 25 million tonnes or 3.4 per cent in 2014, according to estimates by the China Iron and Steel Association. With falling domestic consumption, steel exports jumped by almost two-thirds to 84 million tonnes. Lower than projected Chinese steel consumption has caused a sharp fall in metallurgical coal and iron ore prices. (Customs Today)

resources                      take action

Resources and Energy Quarterly: December Quarter 2014, Australian Government Department of Industry, December 2014, pp 23-30. (Pdf)

This report contains a useful brief overview of the global seaborne markets for both thermal and metallurgical coal.

Momenta, January 2015.

This 38-minute video documents the debate over coal mining and proposed expansion of exports from the Pacific North-West of the US. The video is available online. A free copy of the DVD can be requested here.

Smog Journeys, Greenpeace East Asia, January 2015.

This powerful 7-minute video depicts the effects of air pollution on two families in north-east China.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher, Greenpeace India Society vs.  Union of India, Delhi High Court, January 20, 2015. (Pdf)

This is the written judgement by Justice Rajiv Shakdher overturning the Ministry of Home Affairs freeze on a transfer of funds from Greenpeace International to a Greenpeace India bank account.

Lummi Nation versus dirty coal exports

The Lummi Nation, which has treaty rights with the US Government, is pressing the US Army Corps of Engineers to deny a permit for the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point in Washington state. An online action is here.

Suggested Tweet:  Stand with the Lummi Nation http://act.350.org/letter/Lummi_coal @350 @350seattle @PowerPastCoal @lummicomm #ActOnClimate #coalexport

CoalWire is a weekly bulletin of coal-related news published by CoalSwarm. Please send material which you think should be included or suggestions for features to editor@coalwire.org CoalWire is archived at www.coalwire.org

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