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Exporters going for hefty rise in coking coal price from Japan

By Barry FitzGerald

November 16, 2004

 

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Preliminary rounds of the annual coking coal price negotiations open in the benchmark-setting Japanese market this week, with expectations high that boom-time price increases will be won from the Japanese steel mills.

 

A 40 per cent increase from $US57 a tonne to $US80 a tonne for coking coal supplies in Japan's 2005-06 financial year is the minimum expectation. Australia is expected to export 125 million tonnes of the steel-making material next year.

 

But there were unconfirmed reports yesterday that BHP Billiton, the biggest coking coal exporter, would be seeking $US104 a tonne for its premium coals which, if achieved, would represent a price gain of 82 per cent.

 

Such an outcome would go a long way to reversing Australia's battered ego from last year's talks. Although prices for the 2004-05 year increased by 22 per cent to $US57 a tonne, the outcome proved to be too generous on behalf of the producers.

 

More than $2 billion was estimated to have been "left on the table" by the coal producers in last year's settlement - one that did not take full account of the impact of the China-led boom in steel demand on an already tight coking coal market.

 

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AdvertisementThere have been recent reports that two unnamed local exporters are seeking more than $US130 a tonne for 2005-06 exports.

 

The big local coking coal exporters include the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Rio Tinto, Xstrata (MIM), Excel Coal, Anglo American and Wesfarmers. All enter the negotiations with a nervous eye on the US exchange rate.

 

The Australian dollar's surge to US77c will erode US dollar price increase for local producers. But given the massive price gains expected, it would take a much stronger dollar to start hurting.

 

The predicted price rise reflects runaway growth in steel production in China and India at a time when tight supplies from Australia, Canada and the US have been restricted by issues ranging from bad weather to underground fires. Goldman Sachs JBWere is one of many brokers that has recently upgraded its coking coal price expectations, from $US80 a tonne to $US95 a tonne.

 

If $US130 a tonne were achieved, it said, BHP's net profit would rise by $US500 million or 8.5 per cent, while Rio's would rise by $US200 million or 6 per cent.

 

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Gold from a coal mineBy Chris Moriarty

21nov04

 

ALCHEMY was big until about 300 years ago. People tried to turn all sorts of things into gold. Now they've finally worked out how to do it, in a manner of speaking.

 

The Australian coal-mining industry is busy turning big reserves of coal into big slabs of gold for its investors.

Last week, coal miner Xstrata signed a deal to supply coal to a South African company for $176 a tonne.

 

That's up from between $64 and $77 a tonne this year.

 

Coal-mining companies such as Rio Tinto, and coal-industry associations such as the NSW Minerals Council, are reluctant to predict just how far this price rise may go.

 

Coal analyst Greg Dean-Jones, from Australian Mineral Economics, is less coy.

 

"Next year, coal prices are set to increase very strongly," Dean Jones says, citing the Xstrata deal as a benchmark.

 

The product Xstrata is selling to South Africa is high-quality coking coal used in the production of steel.

 

It burns extra hot in blast furnaces, providing quality and efficiency gains for steel-makers. The price for coking coal is rising as world demand for steel increases.

 

"Steel production is driving the demand for coking coal andiron ore," Dean-Jones says.

 

"Fundamentally, that means China's growth is what's behind it all."

 

China is a serious coal producer itself, mining about 1.9 billion tonnes a year.

 

The trouble is, it's not all of high quality. China also lacks the infrastructure to wash coal to improve it further.

 

Australian companies have access to quality coal reserves as well as great infrastructure.

 

Last week, a dispute flared up in Queensland as a private port struggled to keep up with demand. Mining companies couldn't get their product on to ships waiting to cart it to paying customers.

 

Coal volume is growing fast. Mining giant Rio Tinto has lifted its production at

 

one new mine from a million tonnes last year to five milliontonnes this year.

 

It expects to ship eight million tonnes next year.

 

But Dean-Jones says Rio Tinto is a minnow in this market. BHP Billiton, which has a 40 million tonnes-a-year joint venture with Mitsubishi, dwarfs Rio Tinto's operation.

 

Dean-Jones expects the coal boom will continue for some time yet, at least until China's internal production catches up with its demand.

 

But with China growing like topsy, it could be years before that happens.

 

http://www.ShareScene.com/html/emoticons/king.gif

 

 

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Sorry a bit long but, worth it for the COAL lovers http://www.ShareScene.com/html/emoticons/smile.gifhttp://www.ShareScene.com/html/emoticons/biggrin.gif

 

Energy boost COAL

 

 

 

Australia's continued economic growth rests on an ability to meet ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ in an environmentally responsible manner ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ a 2% annual rise in demand for energy. Julian Cribb looks at research efforts underway to avoid the consequences of a supply shortfall.

 

Cheaper, cleaner, safer ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ these three words describe the huge technological challenge facing Australia's energy sector in the coming quarter century.

 

The goal is to achieve secure energy in an insecure world, zero emissions in a greenhouse world, clean power in a green-conscious world and low-cost energy amid global price rises. Hammering out the solutions is a team of the nation's leading researchers in the Co-operative Research Centres and their partners in industry, universities and government.

 

On the plus side of the ledger are vast resources: from two to six centuries' supply of brown and black coal and at least 60 years' supply of natural gas. These positives are offset by Australia's rising vulnerability to a liquid fuels crisis, slow growth in renewables and concern over global warming. Most analysts agree that, no matter how swift the uptake of renewables, fossil fuels will still be shouldering the national energy load in 2030.

 

But they will be doing so cleanly. The objective is to prove, and begin the transition to, low emission technologies within 5-7 years, near zero emission technologies in 15 years and a hydrogen economy in Australia in the longer term ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ without a hiccup in energy supply.

 

Black coal

 

In two demonstration projects which together will cost upward of half a billion dollars ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ possibly the most expensive scientific experiments in Australia's history ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ researchers from CRC for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD) will support their partners planning to road-test the energy highways to the future: advanced technologies such as oxy-fuel combustion or gasification combined with the capture and storage of their carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Both are key planks in the COAL21 Action Plan and lead potentially to a hydrogen economy, according to Frank van Schagen, chief executive officer of the CCSD.

 

Oxy-fuel combustion involves the burning of coal with added oxygen. The technology potentially has two main advantages: combined with carbon dioxide capture and storage technology, it can reduce greenhouse emissions by 50 to almost 100% for a small penalty in efficiency. Secondly, if a more rapid response is required to greenhouse gas emissions it can be retro-fitted to existing power plants.

 

An Australian-Japanese consortium is undertaking an 18-month feasibility project to retrofit a boiler at the CSEnergy Callide A power station in Queensland with oxy-firing technology to test a range of local coals, and to take off the residual carbon dioxide in a stream pure enough to be safely stored underground through a process known as geo-sequestration. Led by participants in CCSD, the partners include Japan's IHI Engineering and the CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technology (CO2CRC).

 

"Significant technical improvements in oxygen production and capture technologies are pushing down the cost of oxy-fuel coal fired power plants," van Schagen explains. "These advances should make the overall cost affordable for electricity users. If oxy-fuel technology is applied to modern supercritical plant you can potentially capture and store a large proportion of the emissions without serious loss in efficiency."

 

Since the power industry produces 40% of Australia's greenhouse gas output, such an improvement applied industry-wide could potentially cut national emissions by around one fifth ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ a huge contribution to national targets ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ while keeping coal highly competitive as a fuel. How close to zero emissions the technology could be taken depended largely on the economics, van Schagen cautioned.

 

Pilot and demonstration coal gasification projects are also being developed by other Queensland interests, to which CCSD will contribute its coal knowledge. Demonstration of a 100-megawatt coal gasification (IGCC) plant will cost an estimated $350 million. Coupled with geo-sequestration, this technology offers potential gains in energy efficiency as well as close-to-zero greenhouse and other emissions. The Japanese and Americans both consider energy efficiencies as high as 50-60% are attainable with IGCC in the medium term. The US is aiming to have its first FutureGen IGCC plant on-line by 2011.

 

Gasification involves converting coal to synthesis gas (syngas), a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which can either be burnt directly in turbines to produce electricity or else, reacted with steam to produce pure streams of hydrogen (for energy generation) and carbon dioxide (for sequestration). While both technologies were being explored overseas, van Schagen said it was essential to make sure they work with Australian coals under Australian conditions.

 

Gasification also opens up another vital possibility ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ as insurance against a critical shortfall in Australian transport fuels as domestic oil supplies contract amid continuing political instability in the Middle East. Coal and syngas can both be converted to a very clean liquid diesel fuel, and hydrogen is seen by commentators as the future transport mainstay in the longer term.

 

Brown coal

 

If Australia has centuries' worth of black coal and natural gas still to exploit, it has an even greater bounty of brown coal, or lignite. Estimates range from 400-600 years' supply in Victorian and South Australian beds alone.

 

Brown coal has been condemned as being polluting and inefficient, but a series of scientific advances are spectacularly improving its attractiveness, according to Dr Peter Jackson, chief executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Clean Power from Lignite (CRC CPL).

 

For current and new power stations, the most promising is the CRC's Mechanical Thermal Expression (MTE) technology which removes more than 70% of the water from the brown coals, resulting in huge greenhouse savings. MTE dries the coal by a process of mild heating and squeezing, reducing it to a state far more suitable as feed for efficient power generation. It may also prove useful in removing salt from SA lignite, making it a cleaner fuel.

 

"Using our technology to dry coal for a new "state of the art" supercritical power station, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by more than 30% compared to today's power stations," Dr Jackson said. "Reductions exceeding 40% will be achieved if the dry coal is fed to the next generation of integrated coal gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants." Drying brown coal in this way had the potential to save nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year if applied to remove half of the lignite water in the feed to existing power stations, he added.

 

CRC researchers have successfully demonstrated the MTE process in a one tonne per hour pilot plant, and are helping partners to develop a larger 15tph pilot plant. The next step would be a commercial-scale 200tph demonstration plant.

 

The research has also found potential uses for the large amount of water removed from the coal by MTE, such as for power station cooling and ash pond water, therefore helping to reduce power station demand for fresh water.

 

As a bridge between improving existing power station performance and the "holy grail" of zero emissions through IGCC, the CRC is exploring two high efficiency technologies:

 

 

 

upgrading or retrofitting existing pulverised fuel plants with coal pre-drying or repowering with a gasification unit

 

 

new supercritical or ultra-supercritical pulverised fuel plants with coal pre-drying.

 

In the 10-year quest for zero emissions from lignite the CRC is planning to pursue two other options in the proposed CRC for Clean Utilisation of Lignite:

 

 

Oxy-fuel pulverised fuel combustion, with carbon dioxide and water vapour flue gas recycle to the furnace, and carbon dioxide sequestration following condensation of the water in the furnace flue gas

 

 

Oxygen-fuelled gasification, coupled with carbon dioxide separation and sequestration, and combustion of hydrogen in a combined cycle (IGCC) gas turbine.

 

While the CRC is not actively exploring liquid transport fuels production from brown coal, Jackson noted that this was a potential spin-off from the oxy-fuel gasification route to meet Australia's declining indigenous oil supply.

 

"It looks as if it may be cheaper to convert Victorian brown coal to liquid fuel than to convert natural gas. This would produce an extremely clean diesel fuel, with no polluting emissions ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ but it wouldn't make particularly good gasoline. Using another route you can capture the carbon.

 

"But all these technologies rely on our ability to capture and sequester carbon dioxide to achieve zero or near-zero greenhouse gas emissions."

 

Carbon storage

 

For the coming half-century, Australia's energy strategy ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ and economic prosperity ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ turns on the issue of carbon storage. The task of finding where and how to store the nation's surplus carbon dioxide sits in the in-tray of Dr Peter Cook, chief executive of the CO2CRC.

 

According to him, carbon storage is not new technology. Carbon dioxide injection has been around for more than 30 years for enhancing oil and gas recovery. Norway has been pumping 2800t of carbon dioxide a day into a sandstone stratum a kilometre below the surface in its Sleipner West gasfield for almost a decade. In many countries, from Turkey and Trinidad to Algeria and Brazil, as well as the USA, various forms of injection and storage are now being tested.

 

In essence, carbon sequestration does no more that imitate nature. It uses the immense natural pressures of rock and water 800-1000m below the surface to hold supercritical carbon dioxide, which has been injected in a very compressed, dense state, in place through a natural equilibrium.

 

Cost will be a major determinant of whether carbon dioxide capture and storage succeeds, according to Cook. The challenge lies in finding ways to capture the carbon dioxide which will bring down the cost from the present $50/t. It also lies in finding suitable storages close to the main centres of carbon dioxide production ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ coal fired power stations and to a lesser extent gas fields. Where the match is good, the cost of storage is estimated at less than $10/t. "Overall, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions will be expensive, whether we use renewables or geosequestration, but then global warming is also likely to be expensive," Cook said.

 

"What we need are carbon dioxide injection projects in a diverse range of geological settings to build up experience and understanding of the requirements for safe storage. At present we are collaborating in Texas on the Frio Brine project and we are looking at possible Australian trial sites in central Queensland, the Otway Basin and the Perth Basin. Plans are well advanced and we hope to launch a pilot geosequestration project by mid-2005."

 

There are several possible choices for carbon storage: in unmineable coal seams, depleted oil and gas fields and in saline aquifers, which offers by far the largest capacity of the three. According to the CRC, Australia has sufficient capacity to store current carbon dioxide emissions for 1600 years, though not all is conveniently located or suited to long-term storage. Site selection is paramount, avoiding areas that are heavily faulted where carbon dioxide might leak out. Once injected, a variety of methods can be used to monitor the carbon including seismic waves, and electro and audio-sensing.

 

Cook said there had been encouraging results from research into carbon dioxide capture by the CRC and other groups. For example, in the area of pressure swing adsorption, a technique in which power station flue gases pass through a zeolite filter, the carbon dioxide is adsorbed onto the filter, separated from the other gases, and then released again through pressure or electricity as a pure stream for sequestration. This offers a possible option to retro-fit existing power stations. Down the track, however, the best hope lies in IGCC, where the carbon dioxide is separated early in the process, leaving hydrogen to provide the energy.

 

"We are by no means promoting geosequestration as a silver bullet for greenhouse," Cook said. "It will be part of a mix that involves greater energy efficiency, renewables, low-carbon fuels and tree planting. But it does have a very significant role to play.

 

"And we will see the day when people will have to show their geosequestration plan along with plans for any new power plant or emissions source they are planning to build."

 

Despite Australia's image in the international media as a greenhouse recalcitrant, through the CO2CRC our scientists are making a global contribution to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Group and to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's forthcoming report on greenhouse that, for the first time, factors in the potential contribution of geosequestration.

 

New gasfields

 

A novel drilling system could unlock vast new energy resources for Australia, slash the fugitive greenhouse emissions from coal mining and create new options for storing carbon dioxide underground.

 

According to Professor Mike Hood of CRCMining, tight-radius drilling (TRD) will enable centuries worth of natural gas reserves currently locked in unmineable coal beds to be tapped.

 

"TRD is the perfect way to drain methane out of otherwise inaccessible coal seam," he said. "At the same time we're exploring the possibility it can also be used to re-inject carbon dioxide into the coal seam where it will be locked away."

 

The technology consists of a high-pressure, water-powered drilling bit that rotates like a fierce garden sprinkler, is driven forward by water jets and carries an on-board navigation package so the operator can guide it.

 

The drill whipstock passes down a narrow hole until it reaches the target coal seam. The drilling head then emerges out of the whipstock at right angles to the vertical well and begins boring a series of holes into the seam, which allow the methane to drain out.

 

"Potentially, too, you could use the draining drillholes in reverse ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ to pump carbon dioxide back into the coal in place of the methane, where it will be absorbed and locked up," Hood explained.

 

"Using this you drill a fan of holes into unmineable coal seams to extract the natural gas. Alternatively it can be used to eliminate the potential explosive hazard of methane gas in coal mines by extracting the methane from the seam prior to mining."

 

The public

 

In its COAL21 report the industry warned that, whatever the scientific advances, greater public understanding of the issues will be essential to ensure Australia makes the right choices. Lulled by decades of cheap energy, few Australians today grasp the scale, or the massive cost, of the changes necessary on the road to zero emissions and a hydrogen economy.

 

While the Australian public is sympathetic to environmental issues, its buying patterns do not yet indicate a widespread commitment to new, cleaner but mostly costlier technologies. That will only come with public awareness ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’â€Â¦ÃƒƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…âہ“ and public awareness will only come with a minerals and energy industry and research sector that is willing and able to engage with the public, so informed decisions can be made.

 

Australia's energy future thus rests not only on the quality of its science and technology, but also the quality of its public dialogue, discussion and debate.

 

Professor Julian Cribb FTSE is a science journalist and communicator.

 

Australia's Mining Monthly

 

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China National Coal Group (CNCG) has asked China International Capital Corp (CICC), Citigroup and Morgan Stanley to assist the company with its plan to issue an initial public offering overseas worth $1 billion.The process is expected to take some 9 months to finalize.CNCG's listing in Hong Kong is expected to come by the end of 2005 following China's largest coal mining company Shenhua Group with an IPO of $1.5 billion, which will be handled by CICC, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank.China's Coal production increased 15 percent to 51 million tons in 2004, compared with Yanzhou Coal's, which stood at 40 million tons in 2004 and Shenhua Group's with 102 million tons in 2003. By the end of 2003, CNCG had gross assets worth $5.01 billion and a net worth $1.3 billion with coal reserves of 11.9 billion tons.While the country's economic growth has significantly increased, demand in China soared 13.8 percent to 1.

 

863 billion tons in 2004. Coal prices meanwhile have increased by an average of 8-10 percent since September 2004. Credit Suisse First Boston has projected demand to reach 2 billion tons for 2005 and 2.

 

139 billion tons for 2006 while anticipating coal prices to increase slightly over the course of 2005.

 

 

http://www.newkerala.com/news-daily/news/f...llnews&id=80276

 

Hummmm Coal is steaming ahead http://www.ShareScene.com/html/emoticons/smile.gif

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Coal ministry projects 55 mt shortage by ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¾ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢06-07

 

SANJAY JOG

Saturday, March 05, 2005 at 0000 hours IST

 

 

MUMBAI, MARCH 4: The Union coal ministry, in a recent presentation to the consultative committee, has projected a coal shortfall of 55 million tonne against the total demand of 460.50 million tonne during the terminal year of 10th Plan (2006-07). According to the ministry, the shortage would go up to 95 million tonne against the demand of 620 million tonne in the terminal year of 11th Plan (2011-12).

 

 

 

The ministry has estimated coal supply of 405 million tonne in 2006-07 and 525 million tonne in 2011-12.

 

ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’‚¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Although domestic coal production, especially from Coal India subsidiaries, registered a growth of 5.40% in the recent past, the gap between demand and indigenous supply does not appear to have narrowed. It is projected to increase in the coming years,ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâ€Â ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâ€Â¦ÃƒÆ’‚¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’Æâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒÂ¢Ãƒ¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡ÃƒÆ’â€Å¡Ãƒƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ the coal ministry said. It recorded the gap between demand and supply of coal at 5.85 million tonne in 2003-04.

 

The power industry has projected that the burgeoning gap between demand and supply would have a negative impact on the proposed power generation projects which are mainly dependent on coal as fuel.

 

The Centre has estimated a capacity addition of 41,000 mw by the end of 10th Plan and 60,679 mw at the end of 11th Plan. Of this, majority of the power developers including the state-run National Thermal Power Corporation, various state electricity boards and the unbundled entities and private players have been largely dependent on coal.

 

The ministry has noted that in view of the mounting gap between demand and supply of coal, Coal India Ltd and Singareni Collieries Company have identified 140 coal mining blocks for allocation to private and public sector for captive mining. Of these, 49 blocks stand allotted so far and four blocks have started production.

 

 

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Why King Coal had to die

 

The defeat of the miners was a catalyst for positive change, but capitalism is still not being held to account

 

Will Hutton

Sunday March 6, 2005

The Observer

 

It was the summer of 1984. The terraced house in Cwm, home of a striking miner's family, was clean but modest; the cheapest furnishings. There was clearly no money coming in, but the defiance was undimmed. 'I'd rather eat grass than scab,' declared the young Welsh miner. Later that evening, we filed our film for Newsnight and headed gratefully back to London, away from the smell of rancour, poverty and despair. Many months later, Britain's bitterest industrial dispute was to end with the National Union of Mineworkers' leader Arthur Scargill walking with his men back to work, exactly 20 years ago this week.

I sometimes wonder how that young miner came to terms with it all and what he's doing now. Nothing had been gained. The pits-closure programme against which the miners had been striking went forward as planned; 220,000 mining jobs were eventually to disappear. British Coal, as it became, was privatised.

 

Today, there are 7,000 miners working in seven pits, and if one in two of the old mining jobs has been replaced, there are still tens of thousands of men in their forties and fifties clustered in the former pit villages receiving incapacity benefit. The scars still run deep.

 

Scargill claims vindication; he was fighting for communities and jobs and they have gone even more quickly than he predicted. But the greater truth is that the miners' strike closed an epoch. It defined the end of the coal-based industrial economy and with it the core political philosophy of the left - that parliamentary socialists allied with the trade union battalions would confront and potentially transform capitalism through solidarity and unity.

 

Never achieved in the 1920s and 30s, it was not going to be attained in the changing landscape of the 1980s; the miners couldn't stay united and coal, along with manufacturing industry generally, was declining in economic importance.

 

It would take Scargill's epic defeat to demonstrate that truth, posing a question that too many on the left still don't confront today. If the labour movement's leadership had understood the times better, could it have redefined the left's project more cleverly and kept alive in contemporary guise some of the protections, institutions and solidarities of working-class life?

 

That was certainly Neil Kinnock's ambition, even if too few saw it at the time. Today's prosperity is often ascribed to the flexible labour markets that the Thatcher government entrenched after Scargill's defeat, but that's too simple, even if some labour-market flexibilities are an economic advantage. Globalisation, the rise of the knowledge economy and the extraordinary boom in house prices have all contributed to Britain's most sustained period of economic growth since the 19th century.

 

If the left had read the runes better, there might have been a stronger social-democratic prospectus than that available today, together with some coalition of social forces better able to back it. Leading your best men into a rout for no tangible gain was an act of supreme stupidity.

 

Reporting the strike for Newsnight was a watershed in my thinking. On the coaches with Yorkshire's flying pickets as they tried to shame the working Nottinghamshire miners into downing tools was, at once, enlightening and depressing; the rhetoric of working-class solidarity crumbled before your eyes.

 

Despite the jolliness and determination of the women at the tureens in front of the cameras, a soup kitchen is not where anyone wants to spend too much time. One abiding memory is the sheer dullness of day-to-day life in a long strike, along with the grinding poverty. You avoid this if you can.

 

The Thatcher government was well prepared. For three years, coal stocks had been quietly accumulated. Nottinghamshire's coal production, along with foreign imports, distributed through the non-striking rail network, meant the attrition of coal reserves at power stations was more than manageable.

 

The police were well organised and able to resist the flying pickets, so coal reserves could quickly move as needed to any power-generation problem areas. But for all that, Thatcher's political trump card was that Scargill so badly misread the politics of legitimacy. He wanted to rely on working-class solidarity rather than a ballot to legitimise the strike, fearful that some of the NUM's regions would not support Yorkshire, whose miners had held a ballot. Some of them wouldn't, but by 1984, invocations of solidarity to support strikes weren't good enough - you needed votes. Without them, the NUM could never enlist the support of other unions or even keep itself united.

 

Twenty, even 10 years earlier, Scargill might have got away with it, but by the mid 1980s, the forces of individualisation were undermining the unity-led values of working-class Britain. Nottingham miners, dockers and rail workers, even had they been so disposed, were not prepared to lend support to a strike not legitimised by a ballot.

 

After the defeat, a major source of union power was irretrievably weakened and a justification for confrontational unionism was lost forever. The miners' strike also proved that the use of law in industrial relations and the regulation of union affairs in the public interest was amply justified. Both Wilson and Heath had attempted to reform trade union law but had been beaten back. With the miners defeated, Thatcher's reforms of the labour market could proceed apace and New Labour has not been minded to revoke them.

 

Without the evisceration of the Scargillite tendency, the Labour party would not have been able to shed itself of the old left project which, more than anything else, laid the ground for the two landslide victories of 1997 and 2001.

 

All that is for the good, as is the improvement in Britain's economic fortunes. Burning less coal has meant less carbon entering the atmosphere, another plus. The problem is that New Labour has shed the old without finding a new political compass, unhelped by a trade union establishment of whom far too many hanker for the exploded certainties once championed by Scargill. Most institutions suffering the reverse experienced by the miners would rethink themselves from first foundations. This the trade union movement has refused to do.

 

The result is that workforces have less voice than they should. More fundamentally, a key social institution that promotes the values of solidarity and fairness, and which anchors progressive politics, is too weak.

 

Looking back after 20 years, it is clearer that the defeat of Scargill was vital for the economy, the labour market, the environment, the public interest and progressive politics. But that didn't and shouldn't mean that capitalism should remain unchallenged, that working-class institutions should wither on the vine and that social democracy should be neutered.

 

Twenty years on, it is time for an honest assessment of what happened and some looking forward rather than back.

 

 

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COAL UTILIZATION UP IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

Publish Date : 3/6/2005 1:22:00 PM

 

MANILA, March 3 - The Department of Energy (DoE) Wednesday said the country's utilization of local coal has jumped to 28.7 per cent in 2004 from only 10 per cent in 2000, spurred by the growing domestic demand.

 

Records show that local coal utilization, particularly in the power and cement industries, has experienced steady growth in the past few years to 20 per cent in 2002 and inching up further to 23 per cent in 2003.

 

Last year, local coal production hit a record high of 2.7 million metric tons (MMT) from 2.03 MMT a year ago. In 2002, some 1.66 MMT of local coal was produced. The country has an estimated mineable coal reserve of 330 MMT.

 

 

"There is such a great potential in our local coal only awaiting exploration and development. We are hopeful that we can find further discoveries from the coal exploration contracts we recently awarded," DOE Secretary Vincent Perez said.

 

The DOE last week awarded five coal operating contracts to three Filipino firms to explore and develop indigenous coal resources in the southern part of the country.

 

Two contracts were awarded to MG Mining and Energy Corp. for exploration and development of coal resources in South Cotabato and in Southern Cebu. MG Mining is a subsidiary of the Murphy Group which is involved in fuel and energy trade.

 

Two more coal contracts were signed with Forum Exploration Inc. over the Balamban-Naga, Cebu and Dalaguete, Cebu coal fields. The company is also involved in oil and gas exploration in northern Cebu. The DOE also awarded to major Filipino mining firm Philex Mining Corp. the right to explore coal field in Diplahan-Buug, Zamboanga Sibugay.

 

Early last month, the DOE awarded a coal operating contract to Samaju Corp in Batan Island, Rapu-rapu, Albay.

 

The contract covers 547 hectares of land located on the west portion of the coal field operated by Lima Coal Corp.

 

Some P89 million (US$1.6 million) in fresh investments are expected from the new coal contracts.

 

Also last week, local coal producers led by the Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines (PHILCOAL) presented to Perez an environmental manifesto, pledging their commitment to protect the environment and promote sustainable development while pursuing and intensified exploration and development of the country's coal resources.

 

 

 

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U most welcome balance.... http://www.ShareScene.com/html/emoticons/wink.gif and the last for the nite.....

 

Coal holds the key, says Elder

 

05 March 2005

By MARTA STEEMAN

 

Coal still has a key role to play in electricity supply, says Solid Energy, despite Genesis Power putting two coal-fired power stations on hold.

 

 

Genesis and Solid Energy are arguing over the price of coal for the two power stations proposed near Huntly, where Genesis has the 1000-megawatt Huntly power station.

 

Genesis says the price Solid Energy wants for the coal is uneconomic for the two 400MW coal-fired stations for which it is doing feasibility studies.

 

An $800 million deal for 11 million tonnes of coal over eight years, agreed between Genesis and Solid Energy in 2003, was not part of the price debate. Solid Energy could deliver on that, chief executive Don Elder said yesterday.

 

There were coal reserves of 50 million tonnes in Waikato at prices Genesis was comfortable with and the two were negotiating on that for long-term supplies for Huntly.

 

But there were a further 150 million to 250 million tonnes of coal reserves that were more expensive to extract.

 

Dr Elder has been promoting coal as a key fuel for future power stations and part of the answer to ensuring security of electricity supply.

 

The proposed Marsden B coal-fired station may use only some of Solid Energy's coal, most likely West Coast coal, as long as the price is economic.

 

Dr Elder said Marsden B would not use Waikato coal because it was too expensive to transport it to Marsden B. The energy value of the Waikato coal meant it was too expensive to transport more than 200 kilometres.

 

Marsden B was more likely to use Solid Energy's West Coast coal because it had a higher energy content, but the coal was more expensive and was also exported.

 

The price was influenced by international coal prices.

 

It might be more economic for Mighty River Power to import coal from Australia and Indonesia than to take West Coast coal because the latter would include the costs of shipping it up to Marsden Pt, near Whangarei, he said.

 

It is doubtful a power station will be built in Southland in the medium term. That is where the big reserves of coal lie, though it is of low quality.

 

To transport the electricity from Southland to the North Island would require a much bigger upgrade of the transmission grid than the one of $1.5 billion that Transpower is proposing.

 

Asked if coal's role in security of supply was limited, Dr Elder said the existing Huntly power station was running almost completely on coal.

 

Huntly was using about two million tonnes of coal a year and most was from Solid Energy.

 

That was many times more than it had used in the past.

 

Marsden B would probably source about half its coal from Solid Energy.

 

West Coast coal could also be used to fire a station at Buller, on which Solid Energy was doing a feasibility study, Dr Elder said.

 

 

 

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