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A week in coal: 7 November 2014

World Coal,

It is that time again, when we at World Coal take a look back at the week’s top news stories from the global coal industry.

Clean coal: a commercial reality?

A new report published by the Global CCS Institute has found that carbon capture and storage is “on the cusp” of widespread deployment. There are now 22 CCS projects in construction or operation worldwide – a 50% increase since 2011. CEO of the institute, Brad Page, was keen to stress that these 22 projects “demonstrate that CCS is active, operational and viable”.

Keynote speakers announced

Looking ahead to upcoming conferences and trade shows, those in the coal and mining industries will be keen to hear that the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME), as well as the African Mining Indaba, have both announced their keynote speakers. The keynote session at SME will tackle the theme “The Mine of the Future: Forecasting Opportunity and Challenges for the Global Mining Industry” with speakers from Freeport-McMoRan, Caterpillar and Arch Coal already confirmed. Meanwhile, the African Mining Indaba has revealed that former prime minister of the UK, Tony Blair, will be interviewed by Christopher Fordham, managing director of Euromoney Institutional Investor, during the keynote session of next year’s conference.

Mild winter weather hits CHP demand in Germany

An expected mild winter in Germany will reduce demand for heating and power from the country’s combined heat and power (CHP) plants, according to new analysis Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, further weighing down the price of carbon on the EU’s Emissions Trading System. Mild weather has already resulted in the lowest annual level of primary energy consumption in Germany since reunification in 1990. October saw temperatures average 3°C above normal and they are expected to continue to average at least 1°C above normal over the rest of the winter period.

Why is the coal gone?

Stockpiles of coal at coal-fired power plants in the US are smaller than in recent years, according to a report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA said that coal stocks at electric power plants, which totalled 121 million t at the end of August, are relatively low in both absolute and days of burn terms relative to recent historical norms. Last year’s harsh winter weather saw plants in the US operate at very high rates, burning lots of coal and depleting stockpiles. Meanwhile, issues with railway shipments and deliveries are making it difficult to transport large volumes of coal and rebuild stockpiles at power plants.

Pike River Mine re-entry project ruled out

Finally this week, sad news from New Zealand, as Solid Energy rules it is too dangerous to continue with a project to recover the bodies of coal miners trapped in the 2010 explosion at the Pike River mine. Pip Dunphy, chairman of Solid Energy, acknowledged how difficult and disappointing the decision would be for the family members and friends who died in the mine. However, Solid Energy ultimately found that it would be unacceptable to risk any further loss of life in trying to recover the trapped miner’s bodies. As a result of the decision, Solid Energy will now surrender the Pike River mining permit. 

Written by Sam Dodson

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