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Editorial comment

The year 1991 was a historic year for many reasons: Operation Desert Storm, the dissolution of the USSR, and the birth of pop icon Ed Sheeran, to name just three. For the coal industry, 1991 marked another important moment in time, the publication of the first issue of World Coal magazine. And to celebrate our 30th anniversary, some of the keen-eyed among you may have already noticed that we have undergone some changes in this issue. In order to ensure that our publication is as aesthetically up-to-date as the technical information it contains, we are proud to launch the magazine’s new design. I would like to thank our Production Designer, Kyla Waller, for her patience and tireless work in steering the redesign from initial concept to the final product laid before you. We hope that it adds to your reading enjoyment.

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In more current news, we have finally seen the back of the disastrous 2020, and hopefully soon too will the notorious COVID-19 pandemic be a historical event, rather than a dystopic reality. Although new transmissible variants of the virus are currently generating a reasonable level of fear, there is new hope as vaccines are slowly beginning to be approved and rolled out across the globe.

In what is hopefully the beginning of a calm following one hell of a storm, preliminary studies seem to suggest that things are not as bad as they first appeared, at least for the coal industry. Due to its relatively low price, coal consumption has managed to remain strong across a range of industries, which has also led to a strong sale of coal handling systems globally. These systems are used across the coal industry, particularly in coal mining plants, thermal power stations, and ports. Although the world is currently seeing a noticeable drive towards the use of renewable energy, coal mining across the world is increasing, particularly in the industry’s largest market, Asia-Pacific. If you are interested in learning more about advances in coal handling systems, we have a whole feature dedicated to the subject starting on p. 13.

Nevertheless, despite the coal industry’s resilience in the face of COVID-19, adaptations to working practices have certainly had to be implemented over the course of the last year. Many companies have turned to digital solutions in order to ensure production can continue with as little disruption as possible. To read more on this topic you can turn to Kal Tire’s article on p. 33 and Haver & Boeker Niagara’s article on p. 45.

The World Coal team has also had to adapt to new ways of working, with all members working from home as the UK is currently under a government lockdown. However, we would like to assure our readers that as 2021 unfolds, we will continue to offer a range of innovative opportunities to keep the industry up-to-date with the latest developments of the coal industry. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and keep your eyes peeled for some exciting announcements coming throughout 2021.