Coal Age

DEC 2018

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Page 10 of 59

December 2018 9 world news continued For the fi rst 11 months, China's coal output climbed 5.4% YoY to 3.21 billion mt. China saw a 13.1% decrease in coal imports YoY last month, compared with an 8.5% growth in October. Ukraine Coal Import Up By 11% in January-November 2018 Year-to-date through November, Ukraine has imported $2.7 billion worth of coal, an 11% increase compared to the same period of last year, according the Kyiv Post, citing statistics from Ukraine's fi scal services. And incredibly, 62% of those imports $1.7 billion worth, came from Russia, a country that is waging war against Ukraine. At the same time Ukraine's largest mining company DTEK has accused Russia of extracting roughly 500,000 tons of coal a month from Ukraine's Rus- sian-occupied Donbass region, and then even more incredibly, selling it in the European Union. South Korean Prosecutors Indict Four for Importing North Korean Coal December 10, 2018, SEOUL (REUTERS)—South Korean prosecutors have charged four people with illegally importing North Korean coal in viola- tion of international sanctions, by trying to disguise it as imports from Russia. The unidentifi ed defendants were charged in early December with bringing in North Korean coal and other material by "laundering the origin" through fake certifi cates of origin from Russian ports, after the old route for North Korean coal, through China, was blocked due to sanctions, according to the Daegu District Public Prosecutor's Offi ce. "It appears that the defendants wanted profi t from arbitrage, using the fact that the prices of North Korean coal and other materials are low due to their diffi culty to be traded internationally," the offi ce said. One of the four, a 44-year-old woman, was arrested for bring- ing in nearly 29,000 metric tons (mt) of coal and 2,010 mt of pig iron from North Korea, worth about 4.3 billion won ($3.83 million) and 1.1 billion won ($1 million) respectively, between April-October 2017, the offi ce said. The other three people, who are indicted without arrest, were found to have brought in, or abetted the import of, millions of dollars worth of North Korean coal, pig iron and, or, coal briquettes during that time, the offi ce said. The UN Security Council banned North Korea's sale of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood in August 2017 in a bid to cut by a third its US$3 billion annual export income. China National Coal to Signs 4-Year Supply Contracts with Seven Utilities China National Coal Group will supply a total 180 million mt of thermal coal to seven power utilities in the next fi ve years starting from 2019, Reuters repoted. That comes after the company signed fi ve-year supply contracts with the country's top six utilities last month, part of Beijing's push to ensure coal supplies at stable prices. The company said that coal prices will be adjusted every month on the basis of CNY 535 per metric ton ($77.58/mt). The seven utilities include Guangdong Yuedean Group Co, Jiangsu Guoxin Group, Shenzhen Energy Group , Zhejiang En- ergy Group and Greenland Energy Group. Russia's Deliveries of Coal to China Grow At a recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia's deliveries of coal to China are expected to exceed 27 mil- lion metric tons (mt) by the end of 2018, an 8.4% increase compared to 2017. Aspire Mining Considers Truck Haulage for Ovoot in Mongolia Aspire Mining recently completed a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for its Ovoot coking coal project in Mongolia. Open pit and underground opera- tions would access reserves of 255 million metric tons (mt) of premium coking coal. The company is now fast-tracking studies that consider trucking coal to a railhead near Erdenet, which means production from the project can be unlocked earlier. The Ovoot PFS pegs output at 10 million mt/y of washed, high-quality coking coal over a 20-year mine life using a rail transportation from the mine. The new plan with truck haulage could deliver 3 to 4 million mt/y until the rail link is completed. Indian Establishes 44 New Coal Blocks in Eastern States by ajoy k. das Kolkata December 4, 2018—The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has established 44 new coal blocks with estimated reserves of 25 billion tons across four eastern India states. Offi cials said that the coal blocks have been "notifi ed" by the federal government and could possibly put up for allocation for private miners when the government decided to go ahead with such auction to user in private mining in coal sector, till now the domain of state-owned miners. Of the 44 blocks established, most were located in eastern state of West Bengal and once developed, it would offer a big boost to the economy of the eastern region, the offi cials said. The discovery of new coal blocks was the result of GSI conduct- ing National Geochemical Mapping of the entire eastern region over the last 10 years. However, senior offi cials in coal industry expressed doubts whether new discoveries of coal blocks could mitigate the acute shortage of fuel availability and the impediments to rapid ramping up production by Coal India Ltd. (CIL) which accounts for over 80% of domestic supplies of coal. The impact of new coal block discovery on supplies would be lim- ited considering that the Indian government had put on the backburn- er of throwing open coal mining to private investor fearing a political backlash against such privatization and more so with the Indian na- tional elections slated in few months. Hopes of timely development of new coal blocks have also been dampened by the government's tardy record in ensuring that most of the re-allocated coal blocks were yet to get back into production. Citing examples from government's own records, the offi cials pointed out that of the 204 coal blocks where allocations where can- celled by the Supreme Court in 2004, the government had immediately re-allocated 33 coal blocks which were in category of 'ready for produc- tion." But as of October 2018, only 12 of these coal blocks have been brought back into production by their new mining lease holders. At the time of allocating these 33 coal blocks, the Coal Minis- try had set a timeline that these mines would commence production by 2015. According to a government note reviewing delays in resumption of production from these 33 mines the Coal Ministry stated the prime reasons being delays in securing new mandatory approvals, obtaining forest clearances and fresh legal challenges. The moot point raised by coal sector offi cials was that if even developed and near-operational mines were failing to resume production, hopes of new coal blocks be- ing developed to ease supply shortages in the long term were slim. Present coal shortage in the country could be gauged from the fact that the amount of Indian coal imports during April-October 2018 exceeded 134 million tons, up 13% over corresponding months of pre- vious year, recording highest rate of rise in imports over the past three and half years. For 2017-2018, total imports were pegged at 208 mil- lion tons. Meanwhile the government has revised its estimate of import of coal during 2018-2019 to 164 million tons, up from 158 million tons forecast earlier in the year.

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