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China’s Coal Country to Boost Output

China’s biggest coal-producing province is set to boost output in June in a bid to prop up the provincial economy after a drop in coal production earlier this year.

Production in Shanxi declined substantially in the first quarter, due to closer oversight on safety practices after a series of fatal accidents. It was down by some 25%, which affected the GDP growth of the province, Bloomberg reported, adding that Shanxi dropped to the 31st place among Chinese provinces in terms of economic growth.

The decline followed orders from state regulators to halt some production and conduct safety inspections between March and May. Shanxi produces about 29% of China’s coal, both coking and thermal.

This has in turn boosted imports of both coking coal, which China generally tends to import a lot of because of insufficient local supply, and also thermal coal, which it does produce locally in substantial volumes.

While demand for both kinds of coal remains quite strong, demand for thermal coal has recently been affected negatively by surging hydropower production, China’s Coal Transportation and Distribution Association said earlier this week.

Hydropower generation in China jumped by 42.9% in the last third of April compared to the same period last year and is “very likely to maintain double-digit growth,” Reuters quoted Feng Huamin, an analyst at China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association, as saying at a market seminar on Wednesday.

This is a reversal of the situation from last year when insufficient rains and drought caused a spike in coal consumption for electricity generation because wind and solar could not shoulder the whole additional burden of demand.

Meanwhile, China has generally boosted its imports of coal so far this year, as it looks to stockpile fuel for the power plants ahead of the summer amid international prices that were half last year’s levels in the first four months of 2024.

By Charles Kennedy for


THDC India Aims To Make Rs 12,000-crore Coal-based Thermal Power Project Operational By September

State-owned THDC India Ltd aims to make its coal-based power plant operational by September 2024, marking an entry into the domestic thermal energy sector, a top company official said. THDC India Ltd (THDCIL) is setting up a 1,320 megawatt (2X660 MW) Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) at Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh (UP), the official said in reply to a query about the company’s plans of setting up coal-based capacities.

At present, the Uttarakhand-based entity has an installed power generation capacity of around 1,587 MW, of which 1,424 MW is hydro, 113 MW wind and 50 MW solar. When asked about the timeline of the project, the official said “The work is going on in full swing. We are confident of making the first unit of 660 MW operational by September this year and the second unit operational by March 2025. It is a project of around Rs 12,000 crore.”

Till January 2024, a sum of Rs 9,428.30 crore has been spent on the Khurja Super Thermal Power Plant (KSTPP), the company official said, adding that around 85 per cent of the work has been completed. The company is in the process of implementing a environment-friendly carbon capture technique at the Khurja STPP, which will capture the Co2 emissions, the official added.

Sharing the details of the project, the official further said the foundation stone for the project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 9, 2019. The project spreads over an area of 1,200.843 acres. It is an integrated coal-based thermal power plant with linkage of operational Amelia coal mine located at Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh, the official said.Once completed, the plant will generate 9,264 million units (MUs) of power annually corresponding to 85 per cent plant load factor (PLF).

As per allocation of power by the Ministry of Power, 64.7 per cent of the power generated (854 MW) is to be supplied to UP and balance to other beneficiaries.On the status of the project, the official said, “Recently, a milestone was achieved towards the commissioning of Khurja STPP with the engine rolling on railway siding (downline) from Danwar station to the plant yard. It will allow receiving coal rakes from Amelia coal mines to Khurja STPP through Danwar station.” Several other project related works like boiler light up of Unit 1, and aux boiler light up etc. have been achieved as per schedule, he added.


Russia’s Coal Exports To Asia Slump Amid Intense Competition

The lower prices of coal from major exporters Indonesia, South Africa, and Australia are weighing on Russia’s capacity to sell more of its coal to Asia, which has become Moscow’s primary export market after the West slapped embargoes on its coal in 2022.  

Russian exports of both thermal and metallurgical coal to Asia slumped in February by 21.6% year-over-year, to around 8.48 million metric tons, according to data from Kpler reported by Reuters’ columnist Clyde Russell.

Despite the fact that Kpler estimated Russia’s February 2024 coal exports to be slightly higher than in January 2024, Moscow had seen six consecutive months of falling coal sales in Asia, Russell notes.  

Russia turned east to Asia to place its coal after the EU and its Western allies banned imports of Russian coal in the summer of 2022 after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February of that year.

China, South Korea, Turkey, and India are currently the top importers of coal from Russia. These countries received over 80% of Russia’s coal exports between August 2022 and July 2023, compared with 47% from August 2021 to July 2022, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in an analysis early this year.

But competition from top exporters Indonesia, Australia, and South Africa and their competitive export prices in India and China, have been squeezing out Russian coal exports to Asia.

Domestic logistical challenges are also weighing on Russia’s coal exports.

According to the EIA, “limited eastbound rail infrastructure from the Kuzbass region in Western Siberia, where coal production is centered, leads to congestion, delays, and longer turnaround times.”

Higher exports from Russia’s largest coal transshipment port, Vostochny, on the Pacific coast, have led to railway and seaport bottlenecks, the EIA notes.

In the first seven weeks of 2024, Russia’s coal shipments dropped by 14% year-over-year, according to BIMCO, the world’s largest direct-membership organization for ship owners, charterers, shipbrokers, and agents. Volumes have been declining since October 2023 when logistical challenges started to emerge, BIMCO said in an analysis last month.    

By Tsvetana Paraskova for


India to Increase Coal-Fired Capacity in 2024 by the Most in at least 6 years

India will start operating new coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 13.9 gigawatts (GW) this year, its power ministry said in a statement to Reuters, the highest annual increase in at least six years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has cited energy security concerns amid surging power demand and low per-capita emissions to defend India’s high dependence on coal. Power generation in 2023 increased by 11.3%, the fastest pace in at least five years.

“In the next 18 months, about 19,600 MW (megawatts of) capacity is likely to be commissioned,” the power ministry said in a statement on Thursday. That will include the 13.9 GW likely to be commissioned this year.

The 2024 capacity increase will be more than four times the annual average in the last five years. India added 4 GW of coal-fired power capacity in 2023, the most in a year since 2019.

Coal-fired output surged 14.7% during the year, outpacing renewable energy output growth for the first time since at least 2019. Green energy output rose 12.2% in 2023, an analysis of daily load dispatch data from the federal grid regulator showed.

The south Asian nation failed to achieve a target to add 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022. The planned coal-fired capacity increase in 2024 will exceed its 2023 renewables increase of 13 GW.

The Ministry of Power has envisaged adding at least 53.6 GW of coal-fired power capacity over the eight years ending March 2032, it said, in addition to the 26.4 GW currently being constructed. Coal currently accounts for over 50% of India’s installed capacity of 428.3 GW. Construction of coal-fired projects has faced significant delays. However, New Delhi has begun a review of plants whose construction has been held up for years, moving to resolve issues over equipment and land acquisition delays.


Asia’s Thermal Coal Trade to Drop in 2024

Thermal coal trade in Asia in 2023 is set to outpace 2022 by 17%, with the biggest driver of this rise being China’s stockpiling of coal, while Vietnam more than doubled imports in the first eight months of 2023, according to the latest Resources and Energy Quarterly report published Dec. 18. The report, which carries the Australian chief economist’s official forecasts for the country’s major commodity exports, stated that world imports are expected to drop by 2.1% in 2024 to allow high inventory levels to normalize, before resuming in 2025 with a 1.5% increase.

“Energy security concerns borne of geopolitical tensions have prompted China to stockpile coal inventories to record levels in 2023. China’s coal inventories have more than tripled over the last couple of years,” the report noted, adding China’s coal-fired power output rose in 2023 despite its announced target of reducing output. Chinese coal imports are forecast to slip to 221 million mt in 2024 and 231 in 2025, down from 302 million mt this year, the forecast showed.

Meanwhile, demand for Australian thermal coal exports remained high in 2023, with shipments to China rising steadily over H1 2023, reaching a peak in June 2023 during China’s peak summer demand. With better weather conditions and increased production from several mines, the forecast stays that export volumes will experience minor growth, from 182 million mt in 2022-23 to 203 million mt by 2024-25.

Source: The Coal Trader |

Australian Coal Exports To China Increase As Trade Barriers Lift

A new government report has found that Australian coal exports to China are increasing on the back of a reduction in trade impediments imposed by the Chinese Government in 2020.

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources’ latest “Resources and Energy” quarterly report found that thermal coal shipments to China are picking up strongly, although they are not yet back to levels reached in 2019–20.

The government noted that thermal coal exports to China grew from nil in December 2022 to 3.6 million tonnes (Mt) by March 2023, coming close to their pre-2020 level. Japan still remains Australia’s largest thermal coal customer, importing 5.9 Mt in March.

Data from the office of Australia’s chief economist also found that the increased Chinese activity has added significant competitive pressure to the market for Australian thermal and metallurgical coal, offsetting some of the impact on prices linked to softer world economic growth and lower energy demand.

Small growth for metallurgical coal

Global metallurgical coal supply is tipped to grow modestly over the next few years, though low investment in expansions and new mines could act as a constraint.

The latest quarterly report expects the metallurgical coal market to remain in a marginal shortfall over 2024 and 2025, keeping prices above their pre-2019 level.

New information also concluded that supply tightness has eased in thermal coal markets as disruptions linked to weather, the rerouting of trade following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic dissipated.

Australia’s recent coal shipments have also begun to recover following a long period of weather-related disruptions and the government says the outlook is for greater production and export volumes.

Prices to fall by 2025

However, the government is forecasting that Australian premium hard coking coal price will fall to around $300 a tonne by 2025 from the current estimated average of around $400 a tonne.

The studies have suggested that improving supply conditions from across the globe will be the main driver for the price decline.

It is forecast that Australia will continue to be a significant player in future increases in coal supplies, with the nation’s exports forecast to jump from an estimated 157 million tonnes (Mt) in 2022–23 to 175 Mt in 2024–25, as several new mines open.

As prices decline, the value of Australia’s metallurgical coal exports are also forecast to fall from an estimated $60 billion in 2022–23 to $42 billion in 2024–25.

Thermal coal prices providing strong benefits as exports climb

New data show that Australian thermal coal exports rose from 13.5 Mt in February to 16.3 Mt in March on the back of improved weather conditions.

The result for March was significantly above the 2022 monthly average (of 14.9 Mt), and around 20% higher than in March 2022.

The office of the chief economist noted that despite a recent small decline due to improved global supply conditions, Australia’s thermal coal prices remain relatively high.

But that is set to change dramatically, with the Newcastle benchmark price tipped to fall to almost a third of current prices by 2025.

At the same time, the government is forecasting Australian thermal coal exports to jump from 178 Mt in 2022–23 to 202 Mt in 2024–25.

However, as prices decline, export values are forecast to fall from a peak above $60 billion in 2022–23 to around $30 billion by 2024–25.

New mine activity

Whitehaven’s Vickery project in northern New South Wales is on target to proceed soon with the company announcing a $150 million investment for the start-up of a small-scale version of the mine.

The notably smaller version is expected to only produce around 15% of original plans, however, the board is investigating the potential of investing a further $1 billion to lift production to the original level of around 8 Mt annually.

New Hope Group recently completed its stage 3 extension of the New Acland mine in Queensland.

Output at the mine is expected to climb steadily to 5 Mt annually from 2025, with production expected to recommence in the September quarter.


India Coal Production Rises 8.4% To 223 Million Tonne In April-June

India’s coal production grew 8.4% during the first quarter of the fiscal year 2023-24 to 222.93 million tonne (MT), the Ministry of Coal said in a statement on Monday.

According to the data released by the ministry, the country’s coal production stood at 205.65 MT during the same period in the previous fiscal year.

“Coal India Limited (CIL) has recorded an impressive growth of 9.85%, with production reaching 175.35MT in FY 2023-24 as compared to 159.63 MT during the same period the previous year. Captive mines /others also saw a growth of 4.74 % touching 30.48 MT in FY 23-24 as compared to 29.10 MT in FY 22-23 during the same period,” the ministry said.

These accomplishments have contributed to the overall positive momentum in the sector, it added.

The surge in coal production has not only boosted overall production but also positively impacted coal dispatches across the country. Cumulative coal dispatches during Q1 of FY 2023-24 reached 239.69 MT (Provisional), showcasing a growth rate of 6.97% compared to 224.08 MT dispatched in Q1 of FY 2022-23. CIL played a crucial role in meeting the growing demand for coal, with dispatches reaching 186.21 MT in Q1 of FY 2023-24, a growth rate of 5.32% from the 176.81 MT dispatched during the same period in the previous year.

Additionally, Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) and captive mines/others recorded dispatch figures of 18.07 MT and 35.41 MT respectively in Q1 of FY 2023-24, reflecting growth rates of 4.45% and 18.16% as compared to the corresponding period in FY 2022-23.

Furthermore, the upturn in offtake has resulted in a comfortable coal stock position. The total coal stock as on 30 June 2023 has recorded remarkable growth reaching at 107.15 MT (provisional) as compared to 77.86 MT as on 30 June 2022, reflecting a growth of 37.62%. This growth indicates the continued efforts to meet rising demand of coal.

The sustained efforts of the ministry of coal towards enhancing coal production and ensuring seamless dispatch underscores India’s persistence in meeting its energy demands and fostering continuous economic growth.

These positive developments position the nation favourably and contribute to driving the positive trajectory of the country’s energy sector, reinforcing the commitment towards providing uninterrupted power supply and paving the way for Aatmanirbhar Bharat, it added.


Global Thermal Coal Prices Settling into $200/T Range After Volatile 2022

SINGAPORE, May 25 (Reuters) – Global thermal coal prices are stabilising this year in a range near $200 a tonne that is less than half of 2022’s record highs, analysts and industry officials say, with rising supplies providing respite to consumers roiled by last year’s volatility.

Analysts expect the benchmark Newcastle coal index to average $175-$212 a tonne this year, a steep premium to the $86 average for the ten years preceding Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but down more than 50% from September’s highs at $440.

Last year, punitive Western sanctions on Russia pushed European buyers to pay top dollar for fuel to fire power plants, pushing up global prices. Russia was Europe’s biggest supplier of coal and natural gas before the war.

Coal prices in the tighter range expected this year, though, will help utilities and other users better plan fuel purchases, easing pressure on economies battling high inflation. Fuel prices typically account for more than half the total cost of generating electricity.

Alexandre Claude, chief executive of London-based analytics firm DBX Commodities, said he expects lower volatility in 2023 compared with 2022 because trade flows had stabilised after the “energy shock” that followed the invasion of Ukraine.

Argus Consulting expects global coal exports to rise 4.4% this year, with imports set to increase 5%. China is seen ramping up imports by 11%, with Australian exports rising 9.4% after declining for three straight years.

July Ndlovu, chairman of the World Coal Association (WCA) and chief executive of South Africa’s Thungela Resources (TGAJ.J), said Europe’s “disproportionate” role in deciding coal prices was over.

“Going forward … what happens with China and India is what would drive the fundamentals for energy, because that’s where growth and energy demand is,” Ndlovu told Reuters.

Australia’s Westpac (WBC.AX) said this month it expects the Newcastle benchmark to average $193 per tonne over the nine months ending December 2023, while Citi (C.N) said in April it expected the index to average $175 over 9-12 months. Australia’s chief economist expects Newcastle benchmark prices to average $212 this year.

As of Monday, Newcastle coal was just over $159 a tonne on a free-on-board basis, at the low end of a $159-$179 range it has held during the current quarter and a long way from the $180-$403 band of the first quarter.

“We expect coal prices including the Newcastle benchmark to remain supported mostly due to higher cash (production) costs for the coal miners,” said DBX’s Claude, explaining why prices likely aren’t headed back to pre-invasion, pre-pandemic levels.

Top exporters Indonesia and Australia are expected to ramp up shipments to meet higher demand from India and parts of Southeast Asia, making up for small declines in supply from elsewhere including Russia, according to estimates by Australia’s chief economist and Argus.

The Australian chief economist’s office expects supplies from Australia to jump 7.8% and Indonesian exports to rise 2.4%, while imports by Asia rise 2.3% to 852 million tonnes and shipments to Europe fall more than 15%.

Exports from Russia are expected to be lower, Argus and Australia’s estimates show, with the narrowing spread between Russia’s discounted coal and other benchmarks reducing the competitiveness of Russian coal.

Steep discounts to benchmark prices helped Russia lure Asian buyers after the Western sanctions prevented sales to Europe, but that advantage is disappearing.

The forecast for an El Nino weather pattern, typically associated with drier conditions, could also reduce rain-related disruptions to supply and support higher coal output from key regions and ease prices back from the highs of the past year.

A plunge in natural gas prices is expected to aid Europe’s shift away from coal this year as well and that will have a similar effect.

Any indication of a slower-than-expected economic recovery in China, however, could have a larger impact on prices despite this year’s growth in imports and rising domestic coal output.

“Price stability will probably be driven by how the Chinese central government decides in terms of their energy policies,” said WCA Chairman Ndlovu.


Japan Offers $1.6 Billion to Australia’s Coal-to-Hydrogen Plan

Japan’s government will offer 220 billion yen ($1.6 billion) from a green innovation fund to accelerate efforts in Australia to produce hydrogen for export from coal and biomass.

Partners including J-Power Latrobe Valley, a unit of Japan-based Electric Power Development Co. and Sumitomo Corp. have carried out trials including the delivery last year of the first ever liquid hydrogen shipment from southeast Australia to Kobe. 

The Japan Suiso Energy joint venture aims to begin production in the late 2020s, supplying an initial 30,000 to 40,000 tons a year of clean hydrogen in a process that will use carbon capture technology, the companies said in a Tuesday statement. There’s potential to raise output to as much as 225,000 tons, according to the partners.

“This is a complex project and there is still some way to go in terms of approvals, design, construction and commissioning,” Japan Suiso Energy Chief Executive Officer Eiichi Harada said in the statement. The development has won a commitment of funds from Japan’s 2 trillion yen green innovation fund, Harada said.

Imports of clean hydrogen are seen as an option to help countries like Japan, with little space for wind and solar equipment, to decarbonize their energy systems. However, liquefying hydrogen remains expensive and the fuel is currently cumbersome to transport, challenging its viability.

The vessel carrying the initial Australian test cargo suffered a gas flame incident on its deck while it was berthed at a port in Victoria state, authorities said in a report published last month.



Indonesia on Wednesday launched the first phase of mandatory carbon trading for coal power plants, part of efforts by Southeast Asia’s biggest economy to boost renewable energy and achieve net zero emissions by 2060.

Coal makes up more than half of Indonesia’s power generation. The first stage of a carbon trading mechanism will cover 99 power plants with total installed capacity of 33.6 gigawatt directly connected to power grids owned by state utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).

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“There are 500,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent ready to be traded,” said energy ministry official Mohamad Priharto Dwinugroho.

The figure refers to an estimate of the excess emissions over a total 20 million tonnes CO2 equivalent emission quota given to the power plants.

Under the mechanism, power plants that emitted more carbon than their quota can buy carbon credits from plants with below-quota emissions or from renewable power plants.

Dwinugroho said a market mechanism would set the price, but, according to an energy ministry study, the price may range between $2 and $18 per tonne.

Indonesia’s carbon trade applies to power plants with a capacity of at least 100 MW. Energy minister Arifin Tasrif said, however, it would later be rolled out to smaller coal plants and other fossil-fueled power plants, as well as power plants not connected to PLN’s grid.

“Carbon pricing is one of the policies that could increase energy efficiency, reduce dependence on carbon energy, imported energy and can be a source of income for the company and government,” Arifin said at the launch, adding that carbon trading in power generation could reduce carbon emissions by 36 million tonnes by 2030.

Arthur Simatupang, chairman of the Indonesian private power producers association, said power plants could now monetise their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

One of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, Indonesia last year set a more ambitious target for reducing carbon emission by 31.89% on its own, or 43.2% with international support, by 2030.

That compared to its 2015 Paris Agreement pledge to cut emissions by 29% or 41% with international help.

Authorities are studying the implementation of a carbon exchange and plan to set up agencies to monitor and verify emission volumes.

Indonesia initially planned to tax the remaining carbon emissions that had not been offset by carbon credits, but the implementation has been delayed.