CoalWire is a weekly news bulletin which summarises the most significant developments affecting the global coal industry and highlights the efforts of groups around the world working on coal-related issues. Suggestions of material for future bulletins should be sent to [email protected].
Turkey: Power station rejected after sustained local resistance
Turkish campaigners celebrated after the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization rejected, for the fourth time, an Environmental Impact Assessment for a 1200 megawatt power station near the coastal town of Gerze. Ministry officials have stated that the application cannot be re-submitted, effectively killing the project. Local community group Platform for a Green Gerze (YEGEP), together with Greenpeace Turkey, have waged a strong campaign against the project over the last five years. The project was proposed by the Andolou Group – a company with interests including Coca Cola and the popular beer Efes Pilsen. (Bianet)
Australia: Legal challenge delays Galilee coal exports until 2017
GVK Hancock Coal has announced a further delay in commencement of the proposed 1.8 billion tonne Alpha Coal Project. The thermal coal project also involves the construction of a 500 kilometre long railway and the expansion of the Abbott Point Coal Terminal. A legal challenge to the granting of a mining licence has been filed by a community group, Coast and Country Association of Queensland, and four individuals. As a result, GVK have indicated that construction will be delayed until at least 2014, with first exports pushed back until at least 2017. GVK Hancock Coal’s Alpha Coal Project is a joint venture between the financially troubled private Indian company, GVK (79%), and the holding company of Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart (21%). (The Australian)
|Australia: Former New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Mineral Resources, Ian Macdonald, “engaged in corrupt conduct” in granting a coal exploration licence to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd (DCM), the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found. In the wake of the findings local landowners are calling for the exploration licence to be cancelled. (NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption)|
China: The Beijing municipal government has announced that, as a part of its plan to cut PM2.5 particle pollution by 25% by 2017, coal consumption will be cut by over half, or approximately 13 million tonnes. If targets in the plan are achieved, PM2.5 pollution could be cut to 60 micrograms per cubic meter compared to the World Health Organisation standard of no more than 25 micrograms per cubic meter. Other measures in the plan include increases in energy costs, stricter pollution limits on existing industrial plants, a ban on low quality coal after 2016, and the elimination of household use of coal in the inner city by the end of 2015. (Ecns.com,China Radio International)
India: In a bid to quell parliamentary protests over the ‘Coalgate’ scandal, Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, told parliament that if records relating to coal allocations were missing “the government will carry out a thorough investigation and ensure that the guilty are brought to book.” Singh left parliament after the statement without taking questions. Several days earlier an investigation report submitted to the Supreme Court by the Central Bureau of Investigation stated that “the disappearance and non-furnishing of documents [by Ministry of Coal] have an element of criminality in it.” (Times of India)
Mongolia: Metallurgical coal exports from Mongolia to China dropped by over a third in the first half of 2013. The Mongolian Mining Company (MMC) blames the fall in coal exports on the lack of railway infrastructure. In a bid to cut its debt, MMC is hoping to sell the 245 kilometre long road from its mine to the crossing point into China to the Mongolian government for US$100 million. (South China Morning Post)
Mozambique: Jindal Africa’s construction of a new 10 million tonne a year export coal project has sparked opposition from 2500 landowners facing displacement. Jindal had promised landowners – who rely on subsistence farming – that they would be provided with alternative land, water supply and jobs but failed to honour the agreement before the mine was officially opened.(Economic Times, JA4change)
|Pakistan: An agreement has been signed between the government of Pakistan, China National Power, Q Investment from Qatar and the Punjab government for the construction of 6,600 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired capacity at Gadani. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding 3,000MW is to be completed by early 2016 and the other 3,600MW by late 2018. The project is estimated to cost US$5 billion. (Pakistan Observer)|
Turkey: The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has delayed plans for the construction of up to 8,000 megawatts of lignite fired plants in the Afsin-Elbistan coal fields. The projects were estimated to cost up to US$12 billion. While TAQA stated the change of plans was due to “other spending priorities”, Turkish Energy Minister, Taner Yildiz, claimed that it was because of political factors. However, the low quality of the lignite in the Afsin-Elbistan coal field may be the reason. “One developer suggested that even if operators were allowed to extract the lignite free of charge, any plant utilizing it could not be guaranteed to operate profitably,” the Financial Times reported.(Reuters, FT.com)
United States: Longview Power LLC, which overcame legal challenges from environmental groups to commission the 700 megawatt Longview power station in West Virginia, has filed for bankruptcy. Longview has blamed the company’s financial problems on construction delays and flaws, lower than anticipated electricity demand and low electricity prices. The power station, which was commissioned in December 2011, and the associated 4 West Mine will continue to operate while the company’s finances are restructured. (Observer-reporter.com)
United States: Tongue River Railroad, a consortium including Arch Coal and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, is seeking to cut costs by delaying an application for a proposed coal railway line in south-western Montana. The 42 mile (68 kilometre) long railway would allow coal from the billion tonne Otter Creek Coal Tracts to connect to the existing railway network and then be exported either via new west coast ports or an expansion of export terminals in Vancouver, Canada. (Billings Gazette)
|China: Over 80% of China’s listed coal companies report a fall in profits.|
Europe: European Union coal demand starting decades-long slide.
Germany: Protesters block the railway line from the Hambach lignite mine.
India: Jindal Steel faces probe for selling captive coal from mine.
|India: A financier says he wouldn’t lend “one rupee” to the power sector.|
New Zealand: Farmers reject coal mine proposed by the dairy company, Fonterra.
United States: Permit recommended for new Louisiana coal export terminal.
“There are indications that coal’s luck may be changing, and this time it could be terminal.”
wrote Ben Caldecott from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
|Adani: The debt-laden Indian power, mining and infrastructure company, Adani, is reeling in the face of the falling value of the rupee, the need to raise US$1.5 billion to refinance debt and difficulties in developing a massive mine, railway and port project in Queensland, Australia. In 2013 the share prices of its power and holding companies have fallen by 41% and 46% respectively compared to a drop of 7.5% in the Bombay Stock Exchange SENSEX index. (Business Standard)|
Coal India: Seven banks – including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse – have been selected to manage the sale of a five per cent stake in the 90% government-owned Coal India, the world’s largest coal mining company. At current prices the sale would raise approximately US$1.16 billion.(Reuters)
|Pacific coal market: Chinese coal buyers are delaying purchases of coal shipments as freight rates nudge coal costs higher and Australian and Chinese production costs remain high, according to Platts Editor-in-Chief for coal, James O’Connell in his monthly video report. The devaluation of the rupee is also depressing Indian coal imports, he said. (Platts)|
US mine closures: One hundred and fifty one coal mines with a production capacity of approximately 11 million tonnes were idled due to low prices and declining demand in the first half of 2013, according to an analysis of U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data by SNL Financial. Alpha Natural Resources and Southern Coal Corporation were the hardest hit companies. (SNL)
“The issue with infrastructure in India is financing, and if liquidity is going to be sucked out of the market to support the rupee it will be very hard for the banks to fund these projects.”
Eric Mookherjee, a fund manager at Shanti India, said of the Indian government’s go-ahead for a raft of power stations and other infrastructure projects.