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Global coal roundup: China eases coal use restrictions amid gas shortage

A roundup of international coal news from Dec. 4 to Dec. 11.

North America

Canada: Allegiance Coal Ltd. intends to take its ownership in the Telkwa metallurgical coal project in British Columbia to 100%, from the current 20% stake. Allegiance will issue 40.6 million common shares to secure full ownership, raising Altius' interest in the company to 14.4%, according to a Dec. 5 release.

Teck Resources Ltd. said Dec. 5 that it expects to realize an average steelmaking coal price in the range of US$165 per tonne to US$170 per tonne in the fourth quarter, lower than the benchmark price of US$191 per tonne established for September through November. Steelmaking coal sales volumes for the fourth quarter remain in line with the previous forecast of 6.5 million tonnes.

Europe

Ukraine: The ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine continues to disrupt the country's mining industry, which is largely concentrated in the Donbass region. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a report obtained by Interfax that about 36 mining operations have been partly or completely flooded in the area. "As a result of the fighting, coal mining projects have been repeatedly cut off from an electricity supply, which has led to the shutdown of water drainage systems, completely flooding a number of operations," the Nov. 29 report on environmental and ecological issues in Donbass said.

Russia

Production was suspended at an underground coal mine at Evraz Plc's Raspadskaya property in Russia's Kemerovo region after a fire broke out, Russian emergency services told Interfax on Dec. 4. The Raspadskaya project includes three operational underground mines, an open pit, an underground mine under construction and a coal enrichment plant.

Asia

China: Rising gas prices driven by cold winter weather and an increased demand for the fuel has prompted the Chinese government to ease coal use restrictions, the Financial Times reported Dec. 7. "Villages that have not converted to gas may still use coal for heating, or other substitute fuels," the report quoted the country's environment ministry as saying.

Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. subsidiary Yanzhou Coal Ordos Neng Hua Co. Ltd. agreed to acquire Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Co. Ltd.'s 25% equity stake in Inner Mongolia Yitai Zhundong Railway Co. Ltd. for 1.94 billion Chinese yuan. Yanzhou Coal said Dec. 1 that the agreement will further strengthen its cooperation with Yitai Coal and increase coal production and sales with the newly built mines in Shaanxi-Mongolia region being put into operation in the future.

India: Coal India Ltd.'s coal shipments rose 5.2% year over year to 50.67 million tonnes in November, while production inched up 2.6% to 51.3 million tonnes, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 4. Coal shipments and production rose to their highest for the month in at least five years, driven by a surge in demand from power plants.

Philippines: Semirara Mining & Power Corp. is planning a share buyback program of up to 2 billion Philippine pesos to enhance shareholder value and allow stockholders to liquidate investments. The company outlined plans in July to increase output at its namesake Semirara coal mine in the Philippines to 16 million tonnes per year.

South Korea: Five state-owned power generation companies in South Korea are seeking roughly 1.1 million tonnes of coal for shipments in 2018. The utilities seek 375,000 tonnes of coal to be delivered from February through March 2018, while the remaining 700,000 tonnes are expected to be shipped in the second quarter.

South America

Colombia: Colombia's coal output posted an 8.1% cutback to 21.5 million tonnes in the third quarter, from 23.4 million tonnes in the year-ago period, Reuters reported Dec. 4, citing the national mining agency. The world's fifth-largest coal exporter has so far produced 65.1 million tonnes of coal this year, a decrease of 4.4% year over year, the report said.

Australia

Glencore Plc signed new enterprise work agreements with workers of its Hunter Valley coal mines in New South Wales, Australia, ending months of negotiations and repeated industrial actions, Reuters reported Dec. 8, citing a company spokesman. While the agreements are being finalized, which involve workers of all 13 Glencore sites, about 190 workers remain locked out of the company's Oaky Creek coal mine in Queensland.

South32 Ltd. expects salable production of 4.5 million tonnes at an operating cost of US$130 per tonne in fiscal 2018 at its Illawarra metallurgical coal operations in New South Wales, Australia. The guidance includes 3.4 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and 1.2 million tonnes of energy coal, according to the company's Dec. 5 release.

As of Dec. 8, US$1 was equivalent to 6.62 Chinese yuan.

As of Dec. 8, US$1 was equivalent to 50.52 Philippine pesos.

This feature was updated as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 11. Some external links may require a subscription.