June 4, 2015

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OECD Export Credit Agencies Spending Spree on Coal

“Japan and South Korea are the world’s biggest financiers of coal through export credit agencies, a new report has found, with coal projects in Australia among the major beneficiaries of their support. WWF said that the three countries are attempting to derail talks that could cut international coal finance from such agencies, which are state-owned mechanisms that fund or underwrite overseas projects that domestic companies are involved in,” writes Karl Mathiesen in the Guardian.

Suggested Tweet: @OECD countries spend billions in public money for coal despite #climate crisis. Time 2 end export finance for #coal bit.ly/1QmoHOD

The Pitfalls of the US Energy Information Administration’s Policy-Neutral Approach

“From Capitol Hill to the Motor City, marble statehouses to mud-strewn shale plays, lawmakers, policy wonks and industry leaders repeatedly invoke US government energy forecasts to call for more drilling, more fracking and more nuclear plants. These predictions are made by the Energy Information Administration. They are ostensibly apolitical, certified with a federal seal of approval and are ripe fodder for the journalists, analysts and government agencies responsible for painting a picture of the country's energy future. But in truth, some experts say, we'd have better luck calling Miss Cleo [an American psychic who ran a pay-per-call service],” writes Alan Neuhauser in US News & World Report.

Suggested Tweet: The pitfalls of the US Energy Information Administration’s policy-neutral approach http://bit.ly/1QipCiM @alneuhauser

How Did WoodMac Get China’s Coal Demand So Wrong?

“Back in June 2013 Wood Mackenzie, a high-profile mining and energy consultancy favoured by the coal industry, boldly proclaimed that Chinese thermal coal demand would double to approximately 7 billion tonnes a year by 2030. Just on two years later it is clear that the company hopelessly misread crucial factors affecting demand, not least the determination of the Chinese Government to take decisive action on the country’s appalling air pollution. How did WoodMac – as the consultancy is widely referred to – get China’s coal demand so wrong?,” writes Bob Burton in RenewEconomy.

Suggested Tweet: How did WoodMac get #China’s #coal demand so wrong? asks @bobburtonoz @renew_economy http://bit.ly/1GjMgbs


Colombian court derails Fenoco’s coal railway plan

Colombia’s Constitutional Court has extended a six-hour overnight coal train ban from Bosconia township to also include three municipalities in the neighbouring province of Magdalena. The ruling was in response to a complaint by three communities over noise pollution from Fenoco’s railway line to Puerto Nuevo coal port. The railway is used by Drummond, Glencore’s subsidiary Prodeco and Goldman Sachs' company CNR. The court has also ordered Fenoco to suspend construction on a second track for three months in Magdalena while it investigates whether the local communities had been properly consulted. (Reuters)

Suggested Tweet:  Colombia extends restrictions on Fenoco’s #coal railway plan over noise http://reut.rs/1KCxGt9 #Drummond #Glencore #GoldmanSachs

Decade-long campaign prods Indian Government to demand an end to coal pollution of the Damodar River

Following a decade-long campaign by a coalition of civil society groups including Damodar Bachao Andolan, the Minister for Power and Coal, Piyush Goyal has directed that within three months the government-owned power generator Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and coal mining subsidiaries of Coal India limited (CIL) must end their pollution of the Damodar River in Jharkhand. Coal mines, coal washeries – as well as a steel plant and two state-government owned coal power stations – dump effluent into the river and its tributaries. Goyal directed DVC and CIL officials to ensure that no coal ash effluent or slurry water is discharged into the river. (Hindustan Times, Times of India)

Suggested Tweet: Decade-long campaign prods gov’t of #India to demand an end to #coal #pollution of Damodar River http://bit.ly/1A4go85

“There should be very strong regulation of coal around the world to stop new coal … Without those policies and without public pressure on reputation, I don’t think the incumbents will move anywhere near enough,”

said Nicholas Stern, the chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

top news

Former Colombian mine executive arrested over murders of labour leaders: Alfredo Araujo, the former head of industrial relations in Colombia for US-headquartered coal company Drummond, has been arrested and charged with the murder in 2001 of two union leaders. Alcides Mattos Tabares, a former member of the AUC paramilitary group, has stated that he took part in the murders of Valmore Locarno and Victor Hugo Orcasita, which were ordered ahead of a planned strike at Drummond’s mining operations. (Colombia Reports)

Texas environmental regulators roll over for coal: A coalition of environmental groups has filed a petition with the US Environmental Protection Agency alleging that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had illegally exempted 19 coal power plants from emission standards under the Clean Air Act. Documents obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project revealed that industry groups drafted the language which was later used in plant permits. (Environmental Integrity Project)

Indigenous landowners challenge Adani land ruling: The Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council (W&J), representing indigenous landowners from part of the Galilee Basin, have lodged a Federal Court challenge against a decision which allows the Queensland Government to grant a mining licence for Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine. Two W&J representatives have also set off on a world tour to meet potential lenders for the mine including the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Indian PM wants 100,000 people to make way for coal expansion: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pressing the Jharkhand state government to move over 100,000 people from the Jharia coalfield to allow the long-running fires to be extinguished and mining production expanded. The coalfield is India’s only domestic source of metallurgical coal with imports currently costing over US$4 billion a year. (Times of India)

US government unveils plans for new coal lease areas: The US Government’s Bureau of Land Management has released management plans for public lands in Wyoming and Montana, opening the door for new coal leases to over 73 billion tonnes of coal. The coal deposits in the two areas, if exploited, could emit as much as three times the emissions reductions from the Obama Adminsitration’s Clean Power Plan. Objections to the proposed plans are open for 30 days. (Vox, Natural Resources Defense Council)

Czech region objects to Polish coal mine: The deputy governor for the environment in the Czech Republic’s Liberec Region, Josef Jadrny, has objected to the proposed expansion of a brown coal mine at Bogatynia in Poland which adjoins the Czech border. The proposed expansion would allow mining to continue to 2044 and cater for a new plant at the existing Turow power station in Poland. (Prague Daily Monitor)

“I still have a coal business and I have to get out of it … I can’t say that coal is the enemy of gas and then continue to produce coal like some of my colleagues. I will get out of coal,”

said Patrick Pouyanne, the Chief Executive Officer of the oil and gas company Total.


Australia: NSW Government excludes mining near The Drip river gorge but concerns remain.

Australia: Coal exploration spending plummets.

Canada: Saskatchewan opens underground carbon dioxide dump for Boundary Dam CCS plant.
China: Former coal division official at National Energy Administration charged with corruption.

India: Judge rebukes Jindal legal team for out-of-court approaches over coal scandal case.

US: Likely 2016 Republican Presidential contender Jeb Bush courts coal companies.

“Driving much of this slowdown [in coal] is China’s transition … It is a transition we think there is no going back from,”

said Citigroup analyst Ivan Szpakowski.

companies + markets

India’s coal stockpiles grow and power generation falls: Stockpiles of coal at both mines and power stations are growing as India’s power demand fell 1.2 per cent compared to a year ago. Despite the commissioning of over 22,600 megawatts (MW) of new coal-fired generation capacity in the last year and GDP growth estimated at 7.3 per cent, economists have raised doubts that the economy is growing as fast as the statistics suggest. One factor in the fall in power generation is that debt-laden state-based electricity distribution companies can’t afford to purchase electricity. (Livemint, Business Standard)

Teck shuts Canadian met coal mines: Teck Resources has announced that it will shut all six of its metallurgical coal mines in British Columbia for three weeks in the next quarter. While Teck’s move will cut exports by 1.5 million tonnes, Citigroup estimates the current over-supply of metallurgical coal in the seaborne coal market could be as much as 38 million tonnes and last until 2020. (Wall Street Journal, Teck Resources)
Wyoming rules company ineligible for restoration self-bonding: The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has ruled that Alpha Natural Resources no longer meets the financial criteria for ‘self-bonding’ of its rehabilitation liabilities. The decision means the company, which produces 33 million tonnes from two mines in Wyoming, will need to raise US$411 million in 90 days to cover its rehabilitation commitments in the state. (Casper Star-Tribune)

China expands coal power in Pakistan: Chinese banks and state-owned companies will finance two new coal-fired power stations in Pakistan: the 660 megawatts (MW) Thar coal project and 1320 MW Port Qasism Power Project near Karachi. A Chinese consortium has also entered into a joint venture with Pakistan Railways to transport coal for the Sahiwal Coal Power Project in Punjab which is proposed by a joint venture company which includes the state-owned power utility Huaneng Shandong Electricity. (Responding to Climate Change, The Nation)


Coal in India, Australian Government Department of Industry and Science, June 2015. (Pdf or Word)

This report summarises the Australian Government’s view of growth prospects in India for Australian coal exporters and service providers. (A detailed critique of this report by Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis is available here.)
Speaking truth to power: why energy distribution, more than generation, is Africa’s poverty reduction challenge, Overseas Development Institute, May 2015.

This report argues that the greatest reduction in energy poverty in Africa will come from policies which support access to cooking fuels and technologies and decentralised electricity supply rather than a reliance on connecting to the centralised grid.

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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