Coal Age

JUN 2017

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June 2017 www.coalage.com 9 news continued fluent limitations guidelines and standards for the steam electric power generating category under the Clean Water Act (ELG Rule), which has been estimated to cost $480 million per year and has a reported average cost of $1.2 billion per year during the first five years of compliance. "The war on coal is over," Pruitt said after meeting with the Congressional Coal Caucus. "Those that generate ener- gy across America are doing so with a commitment to being pro-environment and pro-growth. The days of having to choose between those two things are over. This administration says we can and we will achieve both a healthy environment and a growing economy." These changes in policy and the new attitude at the EPA have been welcomed by members of Congress and the Congressional Coal Caucus. "After eight years of devastating attacks on the coal indus- try from the Obama administration, it is a great relief to have a leader like Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA,"said Congress- man David McKinley ( WV ). "He understands that we can pro- tect our air, land, and water without picking winners and losers in our economy. "In our meeting with Administrator Pruitt, he articulated his vision to pursue environmentally friendly policies that won't at- tack the tens of thousands of coal miners who work so hard to power this great country. We are grateful for his willingness to work with our caucus and we look forward to strengthening our part- nership on a wide range of issues that impact the coal industry." Decline in Coal Production in Kentucky May Be Over While not exactly a surge, Kentucky's slight increase in coal pro- duction during the first quarter of 2017 perhaps was a sign the prolonged output decline that saw the Bluegrass state slip to fifth nationally in 2016 — behind even Illinois and Pennsylvania, as well as Wyoming and West Virginia — finally may be over. Kentucky produced a little more than 11.2 million tons in the first three months of this year, keeping it on course to turn out nearly 45 million tons in 2017. If so, that would beat the 42.7 mil- lion tons the state produced in 2016, which was down 61.4 million tons in 2015. Cheap natural gas, flat load growth at traditional coal-burn- ing U.S. electric utilities and the regulatory overreach all contrib- uted to the steady drop in Kentucky coal production over the past half dozen or so years. Once, from 1971 to 1988, Kentucky even led the nation in coal production before surrendering that lofty mantle to Wyoming and West Virginia. A report released by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet in May said the 11.2 million tons mined in the first quar- ter represented a 0.56% rise in production over last year. The news was better for both the eastern Kentucky (Central Appalachian) and western Kentucky (Illinois Basin) coalfields. The eastern Kentucky region boosted output by 0.2% to 4.5 mil- lion tons in the January-March period, compared to an improve- ment of 0.76% to more than 6.7 million tons. According to the report, underground mining is on the rise while surface mining continues to decrease. Coal production at underground mines totaled 9 million tons in the first quarter, a 5.4% increase from the previous quarter. However, Kentucky eration. He also advocated for increasing the share of renewable energy. The South Korean presidential office, or the Blue House, said it will temporarily suspend operations of the older coal power plants in June for one month to reduce the incidence of fine-dust pollution that they cause. Moon instructed his senior secretary for social affairs to set up a government body dedicated to tackling the fine-dust issue, which would act as a task force team inside the government. The temporary shutdown is likely to have little impact on South Korea's power supply, an energy ministry official said, as they represent only 4% of the country's energy supply. India to Allocate Additional Coal Blocks for Alternative Fuel Production Close on the heels of opening up coal mining to private miners, the Indian government has decided to allocate additional coal blocks for exclusive development of projects for production of alternative fuel, by domestic and foreign companies. According to an official in the Coal Ministry, the government has started the process of identifying coal blocks that would be suitable for production of alternative fuels like coal-to-gas, coal-to-liquid and coal-to-polychemicals by domestic and foreign companies that have the required technologies for implementing such projects. Such coal blocks, which would be amenable to production of such alternative fuels, would be allocated through the auction route to bidders who submit their required technical and financial experience. In the case of foreign investors, the Indian government would be open to such companies taking up projects in joint ven- tures with Indian partners, the official added. The process of identification of new coal blocks was expected to be completed within the next two months and auction conducted toward the end of the current fiscal year. The technical committee would take into consideration coal blocks that would be difficult for exploitation by conventional coal mining processes, but more suitable for specialized alternative fuel projects using newer technologies. The opening up of coal blocks for such ventures aimed to sup- plement efforts of government miner, Coal India Ltd. (CIL), as well and pave the path for induction of appropriate high end technology not readily available within the country, he added. In fact, faced with surplus coal in the domestic market, CIL has already announced diversification into alternative fuel with its maiden venture for production of petroleum oil from its Chatra coal block in eastern Indian province of Jharkhand and a methanol plant at Dankuni in West Bengal province for which the miner has floated notice inviting expression of interest from technology suppliers. It might be noted that earlier this year, the Indian government amended laws to permit commercial coal mining by private inves- tors for first time in the country since 1973, without any restriction on sale and pricing of the produce. In the first tranche, an aggre- gate reserve of 30 million tons would be offered to private miners through the auction route. However, the official pointed out that "priority of the government was clear in promoting value added mining projects and alternative fuel production from coal," adding that opening up this sector for pri- vate investors would be an additional incentive at a time when there was surplus production and low demand for coal in the Indian market. Consortium to Conduct Feasibility for Dighipara in Bangladesh RPMGlobal has entered into an advisory services contract with Barapakuria Coal Mining Co. Ltd. (BCMCL) as a member of a three- Continued on p. 11... Continued from p. 8...

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