January 8, 2015


China’s Coal Decline Continues

The latest energy-market numbers from the Chinese government show an acceleration of a remarkable phenomenon that began to emerge in 2012-2014. The bottom line today is that the traditional nexus between real GDP growth, electricity expansion and coal demand is now broken,” writes Tim Buckley from the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis.

Suggested Tweet: Latest data shows #China’s declining dependence on #coal http://bit.ly/1BGPAqa  @ieefa_institute 

Another Difficult Year Ahead for US Coal Producers

“The story of Arch Coal Inc. is the story of the US coal industry in a thumbnail. The company is shrinking. The question: How small, how fast. The decline of US coal has been both steady and precipitous, and Arch’s stock performance since the mid-2000s illustrates that trend in simple and stark numbers. The S&P 500 Index — a broad gauge of US stocks — is up 12 per cent this year,” writes Tom Sanzillo from the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis.

Suggested Tweet: Another difficult year ahead for #US #coal producers http://bit.ly/1wQRtMo @ieefa_institute


Judge rejects permit for US coal export terminal

Residents and environmental groups have welcomed a ruling by a state judge that a permit for the proposed RAM Terminals coal export terminal on the Mississippi River in Louisiana is invalid.  Among  reasons: the state Department of Natural Resources failed to require the proponent to “investigate alternative sites.” The company planned to export 5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of coal. However, Judge Kevin Connor noted that the company “provided no details” on what it proposed to transport through the most heavily-populated part of Plaquemines Parish which was “a matter of concern.” (Nola.com, 25thJudicial District Court)
Suggested Tweet: Judge rejects permit for #coal export terminal in Louisiana #US http://bit.ly/1HflayO 

“Coal is an outlaw enterprise. In nearly every stage of its production, many companies that profit from it routinely defy safety and environmental laws and standards designed to protect America’s public health, property and prosperity,”

writes Robert F. Kennedy Jr, president of Waterkeeper Alliance in the New York Times.

top news

Indian regulator ponders shutting Adani coal terminal: The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has given a subsidiary of Adani seven days to explain why its permit for the operation of coal terminal at Mormugao Port should not be cancelled due to air pollution. The GCSB noted that during an inspection it observed that coal stockpiles had not been covered by tarpaulin, sprinkler systems were not operating and air quality monitoring equipment had not been installed. (Times of India)

Opposition to new Polish coal mine grows: A coalition of farmers and residents opposing a proposed 11,000 hectare coal mine and associated 1000 megawatt (MW) coal power station have been supported by the local subsidiary of the global food company Heinz. Farmers and local agricultural companies are alarmed at the projected impact on water supplies and air pollution from the mine and power station. The company proposing the plant, PAK, is owned by Zygmunt Solorz-Zak, a Polish media baron. (Guardian)

Pollution fears after coal barge grounds in Philippines: Environmental and business groups have called for a congressional investigation into the grounding of a laden coal barge on a reef off the coast of Antique. The barge, which was carrying 6700 tonnes of coal, ran aground when attempting to shelter from a storm.  The barge was carrying coal mined by Semirara Mining Corporation, the largest coal miner in the Philippines, to Toledo City in Cebu. (Business World Online, Interaksyon.com)
Queensland Government backing ‘least desirable’ option for dredging waste: The dumping of dredging waste from the proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in the Caley Valley wetland was the “least desirable” option, according to a consultant’s report for a Queensland government-owned port agency. Just before Christmas the Federal Department of Environment requested the company provide further details on the potential impacts on the proposed dump plan and what alternatives were considered. (ABC News, Department of Environment)

US EPA announces limited coal ash dumping rules: Environmentalists have expressed disappointment at the decision of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to designate coal ash as hazardous waste, a classification which would have required stricter disposal standards. Instead, the EPA will require new dams be lined and excluded from areas such as wetlands and earthquake zones. However, the 1400 existing coal ash dams will only be required to be subject to regular inspections for engineering integrity and monitoring for pollution. (Guardian, US Environmental Protection Agency)

India make land acquisition easier for power projects: The Indian Government has issued an ordinance abolishing the requirement for the power sector to gain the support of 70 per cent of affected landowners and undertake a mandatory social impact assessment on projects. The changes have been rejected by opposition parties and criticised as doing little to address conflict over land. (Hindustan Times, The Hindu)

“It’s time for the US Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to … enforce their standards, which require advertising claims to be truthful and substantiated; and stop allowing ‘clean coal’ ads to engage in deception through omission. It’s time, too, for media outlets to cease the naive repetition of a marketing phrase in the face of a mountain of evidence that proves it patently untrue,”

writes author Jeff Biggers in Al Jazeera.


Australia: Whitehaven Coal subsidiary fined US$2400 for damage to Aboriginal site.

Australia: NSW government attempt to sell 140 million tonne Cobbora coal deposit attracts no bids.

China: Ex-head of several Shanxi coal and gas companies arrested for suspected corruption.

India: Anti-corruption agency files charges over allocation of Parbatpur coal block in Jharkhand.
India: State’s preferred power plant precinct raises doubt over 4000 MW Ramagundam expansion.

Poland: Government announces plan to shut four publicly-owned mines, restructure others.

US: US$25-50 million cost overrun pushes Kemper CCS plant price tag to over US$6.1 billion.

US: Residents evacuated after methane tank at Longview Power Plant in West Virginia catches fire.

“Coal and oil may be cheap ways to power the economy today in the near time. I urge you to do the real, actual far-reaching costs that come along with what some people think is the cheap alternative. For everyone who thinks they can't do the transition and invest in renewable energy do the real maths,”

said US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change talks in Lima, Peru.

companies + markets

Indian Government cancels bidding on two ‘ultra-mega’ projects: The Ministry of Power has cancelled the bidding process for the 4000 MW Cheyyur ‘ultra mega’ power plant in Tamil Nadu and another in Odisha after private companies did not submit bids. The National Thermal Power Corporation, a government-owned utility, was the sole bidder. The projects were proposed to be based on imported coal. (Business Standard,  Deccan Chronicle)

India seeks bids for 23 coal mines: The Indian Government has announced that 23 coal blocks will be auctioned off in mid-February to end-users with steel mills, cement plants and power stations.  The government has stated that the auction will be held between February 14-22 with agreements with winning bidders finalised by March 23. (Times of India, Economic Times)

China's new coal railway starts operation: The 1216-kilometre long Watang-Rizhao Railway, which connects the major coal producing province of Shanxi with the coastal province of Shandong, has been opened. The railway line, which cost US$17 billion to build, has an annual capacity of 200 Mtpa. The new railway has the potential to further undercut the market for coal imports. (Global Times)
Mongolian coal mine rights awarded: A consortium of China Shenhua Energy, Sumitomo and Energy Resources has won the right to mine the Tavan Tolgoi metallurgical deposit. The winning consortium is required to eventually produce 30 Mtpa. Peabody Energy submitted a losing bid for the project. (Bloomberg)

Mozambique railway upgrade nears completion: The upgrading of the 575-kilometre-long Sena railway, which runs from the Moatize coalfield to the port of Beira, is slated to be completed in the first quarter of 2015. The US$195 million upgrade will expand the capacity of the railway from 6 million tonnes to 20 million tonnes. (Macauhub)

Pakistan coal projects hit legal turbulence: The director of coal projects at the Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has resigned amid substantial disagreements with companies proposing to build up to 6600 MW of coal-fired power stations at Gaddani. The PPIB has been resisting lobbying by project proponents for a raft of concessions to legal terms governing the projects including that the Government of Pakistan carry financial risks of the project prior to finalisation of finance. (Business Recorder)

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

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