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Global coal roundup: Insurance companies continue to cut coal ties

Asia

China: After a fatal January roof collapse resulted in the suspension of operations, several mines in China will soon resume coal production, Caixin reported March 13. The mines, located in Yulin city in the province of Shaanxi, will have a capacity of 130 million tons per year, according to a list of mines released by the city on March 11. When the mines resume operations, coal prices are expected to be around 20 yuan to 40 yuan per ton, a decrease from about 150 yuan per ton seen immediately after the collapse.

* In 2018, China extended its coal to gas and coal to electricity program from 12 to 35 cities from the previous year as a part of the country's six-year fight against pollution, Reuters reported March 11, citing Environment Minister Li Ganjie. The number of households that switched from coal to gas and electricity rose from 4 million a year in 2017 to 4.8 million in 2018.

Australia

Wollongong Coal Ltd. said March 18 that it ceased all mining activities at the Wongawilli colliery in New South Wales, Australia, following the receipt of a prohibition notice from mine safety regulators. Inspectors found areas of concern within the operation, including with strata roof supports and risk associated with the conveyor systems.

Europe

Austria: Uniqa Insurance Group AG adopted a corporate strategy on climate change that makes it the 10th major insurer to exclude coal-related businesses and projects, according to a March 14 release. Uniqa divested from coal-based businesses as of Jan. 31 and ended underwriting for the category, which it defines as companies that get more than 30% of their revenue from coal, produce more than 30% of their energy from coal or mine more than 20 million tonnes of coal per year.

Spain: Global insurance group Mapfre SA will no longer underwrite construction of coal mines and coal-fired power plants or invest in electric utilities that derive at least 30% of their revenue from coal-produced energy, the company announced during its annual general meeting March 8. Mapfre companies in Spain and Portugal are expected to be carbon-neutral by 2021, when carbon emissions from the insurance company will be reduced by 61%.

As of March 15, US$1 was equivalent to 6.71 Chinese yuan.