August 28, 2014

“Ghosts” support Mahan Coal Mine

To get final environmental clearance for the Mahan Coal Project in India Mahan Coal requires a certificate indicating that a majority of the local villagers who would be displaced agree to the project. In Amelia village, one of the 14  villages to be affected by the proposed mine, 1125 residents were supposed to have attended the gram sabha [village meeting] in March 2013 and approved the project. However, a copy of the resolution revealed “that 13 of the people who were 'present' at the meeting had died years ago and another person was serving life imprisonment. Apparently, the project had found support among “ghosts,” writes Deepak Tiwari in a moving account of the turmoil caused by coal projects in the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh. This week the Supreme Court of India ruled that the allocation of the Mahan coal block, amongst many others, was illegal.

Suggested Tweet: The ghosts who voted for the #Mahan #coal mine in #India


Mass protest against expansion of Polish and German coal mines

More than 7500 people from 27 countries formed an 8-kilometre long human chain between the German village of Kerkwitz and the Polish village of Grabice to protest against proposals to expand lignite mines. “There have to be severe cuts in coal-burning if Germany wants to reach its own 2020 climate goal (reducing CO2 emissions by 40 per cent). Yet the government so far is afraid of taking the logical next step and announce a coal-phase-out plan,” said Gregor Kessler from Greenpeace Germany.This human chain clearly shows the growing anti-coal movement, not only in Germany and Poland, but in the whole of Europe,” said Meri Pukarinen, from Greenpeace Poland. (Inter Press Service, ABC)

Suggested Tweet: 7500 people in #humanchain protest #Vattenfall & #PGE #coal mines in Ger & Poland Pics Video

top news

Residents speak out against proposed Newcastle coal terminal: Residents have told a Planning Assessment Commission hearing on the proposed 70 million tonnes per annum T4 coal loader in Newcastle that it should be rejected because of the likely impact on public health. “There are already major health impacts from the existing coal-loaders,” said Tighes Hill Community Group co-ordinator Graeme Pauley. The Australia Institute, a think tank, disputed Port Waratah Coal Services’ claim that global demand for Hunter Valley coal would keep growing. (Newcastle Herald)

Indian Supreme Court rules most post-1993 coal allocations ‘illegal’: The Supreme Court of India has ruled that the central government process for the allocation of coal blocks between 1993 and 2009 was not afair and transparent procedure” and resulted in an “unfair distribution of the national wealth.” As a result, the Supreme Court ruled the allocations were “illegal”. However, the court has not directed that the allocations be cancelled but scheduled a further hearing for September 1. Mining of some of the coal blocks has already commenced while others have not yet proceeded.  In a separate case, the Supreme Court directed that an order awarding Tata Power and Adani higher charges for their two separate Mundra projects be put on hold pending a final determination by the Appellate Tribunal of Electricity. (Economic Times, Business Standard)
Go ahead for Canadian coal export expansion: Port Metro Vancouver has approved a bid for the export of four million tonnes of US coal a year though a proposed new coal export terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks in Vancouver. However, opposition to the project continues with the project still requiring a waste discharge permit and an air quality permit from the regional council, Metro Vancouver. (Surrey Leader, Communities and Coal)

Myanmar villagers oppose Thai power plant: Residents of Tone Bjo village have protested against plans by the Thai company RATCH and the Ministry of Electric Power to build a 2600 megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant at the mouth of the Taninthayi River. Power from the plant is primarily intended for export to Thailand. “They said that the project would require workers … But the project would be completed after two years, and we would become jobless then. We don’t want the project,” said one villager. (Eleven)

“Large-scale power generation, however, will be the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible, not even relevant for backup power in the long run,”

wrote the investment bank UBS in a briefing note for clients on the European energy industry.


Australia: Sydney University says no new investments in coal stocks while it ponders divestment.

Europe: After rebuff on misleading ‘clean coal’ ad, Peabody Energy adds footnote and carries on.

Germany: Wilhelmshaven coal plant shut for a week due to mussels clogging water intake.
Thailand: Tourism group joins call to scrap proposed 800 MW coal plant at Krabi.

US: No new coal capacity in first half of 2014; solar up by nearly 70% on 2013 and wind doubled.


“Seaborne thermal [coal] prices are ugly (both spot and forwards) and the market feels stubbornly over-supplied with no obvious catalysts to force change on the near horizon,”

wrote Brandon Blossman, an analyst with Tudor Pickering Holt & Co, in a research note on Peabody Energy.

companies + markets

India considers major wind boost: An anonymous government official has stated that at a recent meeting with the Indian wind industry the New and Renewable Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal, flagged the possibility of adding 10,000 MW of wind capacity a year as one means of reducing the cost of energy imports. India currently has 21,000 MW of installed wind capacity and has a target of installing 18,500 MW during the 12th Five Year Plan covering the 2012 to 2017 period. (Economic Times)

US ‘clean coal’ subsidies shunned by industry: Despite the US Energy Policy Act of 2005 including generous tax incentives and loan guarantees for clean coal projects, none have been claimed according to a Congressional Research Service report. The report notes that the “challenge for these projects is the requirement to employ new technology while at the same time achieving commercial viability.” (SNL, Congressional Research Service)

Indian government ponders coal plants without coal: Approximately 28,000 MW of coal plants in India were given loans despite not having either a Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). “How could they be given loans without an FSA or PPA?,” a government official asked. “Lack of coal supply made sure that the projects got stuck and deteriorated the asset quality of banks. Also, many of the promoters entered into PPAs only when the project was complete to get a better price per unit,” said the chairman and managing director of a state-run bank. (Livemint)
Sales slide for China’s largest coal producer: China Shenhua, China’s largest coal producer, has reported a 3.3 per cent fall in coal sales in the year to end June 2014. The company attributed this to the increasing contribution of non-fossil-fuel power generation. However, the company stated that it continued to press ahead with environmental assessment of the proposed 10 million tonnes per annum Watermark Coal Project in Australia and the operation of its 300 MW mine-mouth EMM Indonesia power station in South Sumatra. (Xinhua, China Shenhua)

Met coal price recovery recedes: In a research note for clients the investment bank Barclays states that global seaborne metallurgical coal prices are likely to languish for another year. “The spot price for top quality metallurgical (met) coal has been stuck down at US$110-115/tonne for a couple of quarters now and most market participants think it will be another year before things start to improve,” said Barclays analyst Matthew Vittorioso. (Platts)

“Currently, the coal industry in China is at a stage of significant adjustment and transformation characterized by over-supply, exacerbated competition, falling prices, increased pressure on environmental protection and an expanding scale of loss in the industry,”

writes the Chairman of China Shenhua, Zhang Yuzhuo, in the chairman’s statement in the company’s 2014 interim report.


South African Coal Mining: Corporate Grievance Mechanisms, Community Engagement Concerns and Mining Impacts, Bench Marks Foundation, August 2014. (Pdf)
This report provides detailed case studies of the social and environmental impacts caused by Anglo American and BHP Billiton’s coal-mining operations in Mpumalanga province in South Africa.

Prospects for coal and clean coal technologies in Turkey, International Energy Agency Clean Coal Centre (IEA CCC), July 2014. (Pdf available free if registered and from an IEA CCC sponsoring country).

While this report extols the benefits of expanding coal and lignite power developments, it contains useful background information on the Turkish coal industry and power sector.
Manohar Lal Sharma vs The Principal Secretary & Ors, Supreme Court of India, August 25, 2014. (Pdf)

This is the Supreme Court of India ruling which found that approximately 200 coal allocations made between 1993 and 2009 were “illegal.” It will be an important background document in the debate over whether the court cancels some or all of the allocations.

Coal Map of Indonesia, Coaltrans, 2014. (Large pdf)

This is a very detailed map of coal fields, mines, power stations and coal-related infrastructure in Indonesia. A tip: it is best to download the map and view it in Acrobat Reader otherwise the screen resolution is too low if viewed directly from within your Internet browser.

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

                  subscribe to CoalWire         unsubscribe from this list        update subscription preferences