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A week in coal: 25 July 2015

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World Coal,

Five stories that caught the attention of the World Coal team this week.

Weakness in the Chinese coal market made the headlines this week as the head of the China National Coal Association said that 70% of the country’s coal producers were losing money. Weak demand, cheap imports and the government’s drive to reduce urban pollution levels were blamed.

Meanwhile, China’s sluggishness is not limited to the miners of the Middle Kingdom but maintaining downward pressure on global prices (not helped by production increases in Australia) meaning there is little upside in the near term, according to Moody’s.

Moody’s has also been looking at the US coal industry and the impact of coal and nuclear power plant closures on local governments. With some areas dependant on the local power plant for up to 30% of revenues, it is another worrying example of the economic impact of environmental regulations.

From power plant closures in the US to a possible reprieve in the UK: Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that the UK government’s new capacity market – which pays companies to keep power plants open in case of supply emergencies – will favour old coal plants above new gas plants, potentially prolonging the life of these plants to 2024 (when they’ll be forced to close under new EU regulations).

And finally sad news from Yorkshire as the proposed employee buy out of the Kellingley coal mine fell through, pretty much sealing the fate of the underground operations and the 700 miners that work there.

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