CoalWire 75, 19th February 2015

Know someone who should be on the CoalWire list?

CoalWire’s readership has grown dramatically over the last year but we suspect that there are a lot more people around the world who would probably like to get a once-a-week bulletin on the most significant developments on coal-related issues and global coal activism. Please encourage your colleagues and supporters to subscribe to CoalWire – they can sign up at www.tinyurl.com/coalwire. Thank you.

features

Adani’s coal mine threatens a forest in Chhattisgarh, India

“Sitting cross-legged on a cane cot in front of his modest house, Seva Ram, the sarpanch of Salhi village in Sarguja district [in Chhattisgarh state, India], rubs dry tobacco on his left palm, contemplatively. ‘When a wild elephant enters our village,’ he said, ‘we know what harm it would cause us and we prepare ourselves accordingly. But when the company entered our village surreptitiously, we didn’t know how to react.’ Ram was referring to Adani Mining, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Adani Enterprises, which came to the area in 2009 to mine the 450 million-tonne rich coal blocks of Parsa East and Kanta Basan,” writes Raksha Kumar in Scroll.

Suggested Tweet: #Adani #coal mine threatens a forest in Chhattisgarh, #India writes @Raksha_Kumar @scroll_in

If Edwardsport Is the Future of Coal-Fired Power, It’s Not a Very Bright Future

“Back in the early 2000s, integrated gasification combined cycle power plants (IGCC) were touted by proponents as the future of coal-fired electricity generation …  Though the company [Duke Energy] has promoted Edwardsport (IGCC plant in Indiana, US) as an innovative leap forward in power generation, the plant today seems more an experiment gone wrong—and one that Duke’s customers have largely had to pay for,” writes Anna Sommer, the  president of the US utility-regulation consulting firm, Sommer Energy.

Suggested Tweet: If @DukeEnergy’s Edwardsport plant is the future of #coal-fired power, it’s not a very bright future http://ieefa.org/?p=4390 @ieefa_institute

campaigns

World Health Congress Calls for Thermal Coal Phase-Out

The World Congress on Public Health, which was hosted by the Indian Public Health Association, has backed the need for “a rapid phase-out of coal” for power generation to protect public health. In the “Call to Action for Public Health” which was endorsed by the 1600 international delegates at the conference in Kolkota  India, the world’s public health associations  noted the “contribution of fossil fuels and coal in particular to climate change as well as to detrimental impacts on the health and well-being of local communities.” (Health Energy Initiative, World Congress on Public Health)

Suggested Tweet: World #Health Congress Calls for Thermal #Coal Phase-Out http://bit.ly/1EJdnqF http://bit.ly/1vXyg2g

Judge Says Ban on Greenpeace India Activist’s UK Trip “Not Appropriate”

Delhi High Court Justice Rajiv Shakdher said the Indian Government’s decision to block Greenpeace India campaigner Priya Pillai from travelling to the UK to testify before a UK parliamentary committee was “not appropriate.” The government’s solicitor general Sanjay Jain argued that Pillai’s advocacy against Essar Energy’s coal project in the Mahan forest “would have a global cascading effect and serve only foreign policy interest of a foreign nation.” The judge agreed with Pillai’s barrister that having a different point of view to the government did not mean that it was ‘anti-national.’ The Indian Government have also blocked 13 Greenpeace anti-coal activists from entering India. (Hindustan Times, Indian Express)

Suggested Tweet: Delhi High Court judge says Indian Government block on Greenpeace #coal activist’s UK trip “not appropriate” http://bit.ly/1zoaA2Y

top news

GVK Hancock’s Galilee Basin project stalls: Lance Hockridge, the Chief Executive of Australian transport company Aurizon, has announced that construction work for GVK Hancock’s proposed Galilee Basin mines was not likely to start until at least “the back end of this decade.” In March 2013 Aurizon signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GVK Hancock to build a new 300-kilometre railway to allow up to 60 million tonnes of coal a year to be exported via a proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal. (Sydney Morning Herald)


UK backs end to unabated coal plants: The United Kingdom’s three largest political parties have agreed to a joint climate policy framework supporting an international agreement which sets a legally binding target of a 2 degrees temperature increase target and an “end the use of unabated coal for power generation.” However, the agreement does not include a timetable for the end of coal power stations not fitted with carbon capture and storage equipment. (Reuters)

Indian police seek arrest of Australian executive: Indian police have issued an arrest warrant for Bruce Munro, Chief Executive of Thiess, an Australian contracting company, over allegations relating to the company’s mining contract for NTPC’s Pakri Bawadih coal mine in Jharkhand. The Age also reported that in Indonesia Thiess made regular payments to the wife of an army chief, police chief and head of a commando unit for security services at the Melak coal mine in East Kalimantan. (Sydney Morning Herald)


Ship captain arrested for flouting Barrier Reef laws: Australian police have arrested the captain of a Chinese coal ship which sailed through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without a pilot on board, as required by law. The Australian Federal Police allege that the ship departed from Mackay on New Year’s Day and proceeded to deliver a shipment of coal to China. The captain was fined US$6000. (ABC News, Sydney Morning Herald)

“According to expert assessments, emissions will have to fall another 30-50 percent below current levels if we are to see noticeable changes in environmental quality,”

said Zhai Qing, China’s deputy minister of environmental protection.

news

Canada: Bid to privatise Prince Rupert coal terminal languishes as coal exports plummet.


India: Growing concern over New Delhi’s worsening air quality.


India: Protests continue as Goa coal jetty unloads first shipment.

Russia: Despite opposition from farmers, Arshanovsky mine in Siberia opens.


US: Court orders US$281 million refund to customers of Kemper CCS plant.


US: Release of emails spurs corruption investigation into PG&E backed California CCS plan.

“Now [solar] prices are in the direction of conventional electricity. This is a game changer,”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an opening address to RE-Invest 2015 conference in New Delhi.

companies + markets

Shenhua Energy predicts double-digit production fall: Shenhua Energy, the largest stock market-listed coal company in China, is forecasting that its coal production in 2015 will fall from 307 million tonnes to 274 million tonnes. It also estimates its sales – including from other producers – will fall by more than 10 per cent from 451 to 405 million tonnes. (Shenhua Energy)


Australia’s New York consul lobbies banks on Galilee: Australia’s consul general in New York, former Liberal Minister Nick Minchin, sought meetings with financial institutions in an attempt to allay concerns about coal industry threats to the Great Barrier Reef. Market Forces, a group promoting fossil fuel divestment, said Australian foreign affairs officials “should not be lobbying banks to risk their finances and reputations” on the proposed Galilee basin coal projects. (Guardian)

Tata aims to offload Mozambique coal mine: Indian steelmaker Tata Steel has flagged that it will not invest further funds in the Benga coal mine in Mozambique and wants to sell its 35 per cent stake in the project. In 2014 Tata wrote the value of its asset down by US$253 after Rio Tinto sold its 65 per cent stake at a major loss to a consortium led by the Indian government-owned Steel Authority of India. (Livemint)


Indonesia plans royalty hike: Faced with falling revenue from commodity exports the Indonesian Government is planning to increase coal royalties by between two per cent and 6.5 per cent.  The increase, which is due to take effect by April, would apply only to ‘IUP’ mining licence holders, which account for approximately one-quarter of Indonesia’s production or over 100 million tonnes. (Bloomberg)

“The diminishing shine of the coal industry [in Indonesia] has its bright side. This is because the increasing amount of coal-mining activity in the past decade has not only resulted in serious environmental degradation, but also enhanced the proliferation of corrupt and clientelistic practices in the regions,”

writes Mohammad Faisal in the Jakarta Post.

resources

Opening speeches at RE-Invest 2015 Conference, February 15, 2015. (Video)


The RE-Invest 2015 expo in New Delhi was a major conference aimed at boosting renewable energy investment in India. The speech by the Minister for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, runs from 0:33 seconds to 12:30 minutes. The speech by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, runs from 29:16 through to 56 minutes. Modi’s speech is in Hindi and no translation is currently available online.

Global Divestment Day, February 2015. Video.


This great video presents a visual snapshot of the Global Divestment Day gatherings around the world. At a little over a minute long, it’s well worth watching.