CoalWire 32, 10th April 2014

Why BHP Billiton may send power station coal to corporate Siberia

“BHP Billiton’s move to spin-off or sell off its thermal coal mines – which litter the landscapes of South Africa, Colombia and Australia – is just the latest signal that one of the world’s largest coal producers thinks that the glory days are over for power station coal,” writes Bob Burton on RenewEconomy.

Suggested Tweet: Why  may send thermal  to corporate Siberia     

campaigns

Village of Bulga defeats Rio Tinto mine proposal, again

Rio Tinto has suffered a major setback after its appeal to the Supreme Court against a New South Wales Land and Environment Court decision was dismissed. Last year the Land and Environment Court had rejected  the company’s application to expand its Warkworth mine to be far closer to the village of Bulga. John Krey, the vice president of the Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association, welcomed the rejection of Rio Tinto’s appeal and the award of costs against the company. However, he noted that on April 1 Rio Tinto had filed a new application for a mine expansion which would be decided under new pro-mining amendments to the planning legislation. (Sydney Morning Herald, The Global Mail)

Suggested Tweet:Town of #Bulga beats #RioTinto over proposed #coal mine expansionhttp://bit.ly/1mSeLPJ See local groups website http://bit.ly/1hflzGy

Shenhua retreats on groundwater extraction

The world’s largest coal producer, Chinese government-owned Shenhua, has agreed to make concessions over its water use at a coal-to-liquids plant in Inner Mongolia. Last year Greenpeace revealed Shenhua had left local farmers without water. “The climb-down sends a further message that coal use in China is under increasing pressure from different sides: from the government’s air pollution reduction plan to coal consumption caps in eastern China to Chinese climate targets. And now increasingly from water use rules and limitations in western China, which are limiting the expansion of this industry in dry Inner Mongolia, write Greenpeace campaigners Deng Ping and Harri Lammi.

Suggested Tweet: #Shenhua makes concessions in #China over #water use in Inner Mongolia. A story with broad significance for #coal Greenpeace: http://bit.ly/1g60PwD

top news

Sentencing nears in Indonesian corruption case: The Jakarta Corruption Court has delayed the sentencing of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician, Izedrik Emir Moeis, on charges of accepting US$423,985 from the French power and engineering company Alstom. Emir was a member of a House of Representatives committee which oversaw the tender process for the construction of a coal-fired power plant in Tarahan, Lampung, in 2004. (Jakarta Post)

China presses ahead with closures and expansions: The Chinese National Energy Administration has signalled it plans to close 1725 small-scale mines in 2014 as part of an industry consolidation program aimed at cutting low-quality coal production. While the closures would account for 117.48 million tonnes of production capacity, approvals have been granted for major expansion plans in the north-western provinces of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. (Reuters)

Queensland court hedges bets on GVK mega-mine: The Queensland Land Court has presented the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, with the option of either rejecting GVK’s proposed 30 million-tonne- per-annum Alpha mine in the Galilee Basin or approving the project subject to conditions aimed at avoiding damage to groundwater resources. However, even if Cripps approves the project, there are doubts that the project will be able to attract financial support given current low global coal prices. (GuardianABC)

Air pollution becomes issue in Indian election: In Chandrapur, one of the most polluted cities in India, candidates for the federal parliament are vying with each other to promise they will get tough on pollution from coal mines and coal-fired power stations.  The Vice-President of the Indian Medical Association in Maharashtra state, Dr Mangesh Gulwade, estimates that 60 to 70 per cent of Chandrapur population suffers from asthma or some other form of respiratory disease. (Economic Times)

“Lots and lots of ground level organizing, and I’ll tell you, the opposition is better at it than we are,”

said Wendy Hutchinson of Millennium Bulk Terminals at an industry conference, explaining why the Longview coal export terminal proponents were losing ground.

news

Czech Republic: PM wants US$54 million allocated to delay mine closure.

Germany: Cracked tubes cause four-month delay to start-up of Vattenfall’s Moorburg plant.

Nigeria: Groups warn government against pursuing coal deal with Jindal.

North Korea: Coal exports to China have fallen by over a quarter after execution of party insider.

Turkey: Mitsui considers investment in two new units at Afsin-Elbistan power station.

US: Judge rejects Duke Energy bid to suppress documents on 33 coal ash dams.

“No mention [by the NSW Government after the Supreme Court decision against Rio Tinto] of abiding by the umpire’s decision. No suggestion of respect for the integrity of the judiciary and its role in adjudicating disputes between the powerful and the not-so-powerful. Not a hint of sympathy for the Hunter Valley residents who are fighting to preserve their way of life against a mine extension that Rio Tinto itself promised, years ago, it would never seek. The government had nothing but words of support and encouragement for the powerful two-time court case loser, whose next bid to win approval via another means already has the government’s warmest support,”

stated an editorial in the Newcastle Herald. (Newcastle is Australia’s largest coal export port).

companies + markets

Chinese developers of Pakistan coal plants demand better returns: A National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) official has revealed that the Pakistan government is pressing the energy regulator to approve a 30% increase in the up-front tariff for coal-fired plant to appease Chinese proponents. This is despite Nepra offering a tariff to ensure a twenty per cent return for plants based on local coal and seventeen per cent for those based on imported coal.(Dawn)

Coal India considers investment options:Coal India has confirmed that it is considering possible investments in seven coal projects in Australia and Indonesia. Coal India has received a proposal from Rio Tinto, which has mothballed several projects in Australia. “There are a certain number of Indian firms as well who have approached us for their assets in Indonesia and Australia,” said a Coal India executive. (LiveMint)

Falling coal demand hits Mongolia: In its latest economic assessment of the Asian region the Asian Development Bank has noted that coal exports from Mongolia to China “plummeted by 40.7% owing to abundant coal supplies in the PRC [China] and growing competition from other major coal-exporting countries.” The bank also noted that Mongolia is “highly vulnerable” to the changes in the economic structure and environmental policies in China. (Asian Development Bank)

North Korea opens new port for Russian coal: The government-owned Russian Railways has announced that it has commenced exports of Siberian coal through the North Korean port of Rajin which remains ice-free during winter. The new port is designed to cater for approximately four million tonnes a year in exports to the Asian market. The two other Russian coal ports at Vostochny and Vanino are both operating at capacity. (Moscow Times)

Sumitomo funds Burma power project: As part of a push of Japanese heavy engineering companies into the Asian power sector Sumitomo Mitsui Banking have agreed to loan US$2.5 billion for the construction of 1280 megawatt (MW) coal plant in Yangon, Burma which has been proposed by the Thai  engineering firm Toyo-Thai Corporation Public Company. (Nikkei)

US met coal producer files for bankruptcy:The US Central Appalachian and the Illinois Basin coal producer, James River Coal (JRC), which produced 9 million tonnes from 27 mines, has filed for bankruptcy protection while it restructures its business. In a media release announcing the bankruptcy, JRC’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Peter T. Socha, noted that while some of the changes in the US coal market were cyclical others “are more permanent.” (James River Coal)

“Their [the US coal industry’s] influence may be only casually related to the number of people who are in the industry,”

said Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

resources

Does the Kosovo Power Project’s Proposed Forced Displacement of Kosovars Comply with International Involuntary Resettlement Standards? Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development, February 2014. (Pdf)

As World Bank consideration nears of the proposed 600MW lignite-fired Kosovo Power Project, this report finds the proposed involuntarily displacement of more than 7000 people for the mine does not comply with the World Bank’s policies on resettlement.

“Is coal really on the rise in Europe?”,Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 7, 2014.

The founder of UK-based Solar Century and chairman of Carbon Tracker, Jeremy Leggett, provides a detailed rebuttal of the myth that coal power is set for a rebound in Europe.

“Save the Hunter Valley”, Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association, April 2014. (Video)

This powerful 4-minute video was released as a part of a campaign by a coalition of horsebreeders and wineries against the expansion of the coal industry in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

Suggested Tweet: Powerful video of NSW horsebreeders and wineries campaign against more #coal mines http://bit.ly/Q2tr3F#nswpol #auspol

take action

Take Action on Tata Mundra

On April 13 the final version of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th assessment report on mitigation will be released. Ahead of this the Reclaim Power coalition is seeking to highlight the ‘climate killing’ 4000 MW Tata Mundra project in India as an example of the health, economic and environmental problems with coal. The coalition is asking supporters to do one of the following:

* Sign the petition urging the World Bank to act on the findings of the investigation into Tata Mundra by 10th April. The petition will be hand-delivered to the President of the World Bank on 11th April; and

* Take a photo by 11th April with people from your organisationand/or networks with a placard/banner denouncing the Tata Mundra project and send it to your local newspapers and to Marco or Alex who will put it on the Reclaim Power website and display it in Berlin. (Suggested placards are listed here).

* Tweet on 13th April using these sample tweets:

@IPCC_CH IPCC says Tata Mundra must stop #ReclaimPower

No dirty energy, No #falsesolutions, No Tata Mundra #ReclaimPower