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Editorial comment

The International Energy Agency (IEA) ended last year with the release of its first Medium-Term Coal Market Report.1 This forecasts an aggressive increase in demand for coal over the next five years in spite of public calls in many countries for a reduction in its use: “For all of the talk about removing carbon from the energy system, the IEA projects average coal demand to grow by 600,000 tpd over the next five years,” said IEA executive director, Maria van der Hoeven, at the launch of the report. “Policy makers must be aware of this when designing strategies to enhance energy security while tackling climate change.”

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This analysis is picked up in World Coal’s World Review 2012 (WR12), which includes an article from the main authors of the IEA report, Johannes Trüby, Moritz Paulus and Carlos Fernández Alvares, analysing the particular importance of Chinese demand on global coal prices (pp. 23 – 29). WR12 also includes the inaugural OEM RoundTable, which asked four leading mining equipment manufacturers for their perspective on the year ahead (pp. 30 – 36).

Elsewhere in the issue, Mike King reports on the uncertainty current power sector legislation and electricity tariffs are causing for the Indian power and coal mining industries (pp. 10 – 17). With supply expected to fall short of demand by 350 million t by 2016/17 and the Government unwilling to allow electricity tariffs to rise in the face of high coal prices, effectively blocking the investment required to sufficiently increase production, the world’s largest democracy will continue to struggle with electricity shortages. This will hinder the Government’s plans to spread electricity access to the 400 million people currently unconnected to the grid.

We also begin a new column, The Monitor, from our correspondent, Barry Baxter. This will report on global coal project developments, beginning with news from Botswana. And finally, don’t forget to take a look at this month’s technical section (pp. 37 – 62), which focuses on coal handling along the entire length of the coal supply chain – from the mine to the power plant. I hope you enjoy the issue!

1. International Energy Agency, Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2011 (IEA Publications, Paris; 2011).