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Global coal roundup: French banks move to reduce coal exposure

Asia

China: China produced 1.11 billion tonnes of raw coal in the first four months of 2019, a year-over-year increase of 0.6%, Xinhua News Agency reported May 19, citing the National Bureau of Statistics.

Output averaged 9.8 million tonnes per day during April, totaling 290 million tonnes for the whole month.

Japan: Japan-based Mizuho Financial Group Inc. will restrict financing for new coal-fired power projects starting July 1 to help address environmental issues, Reuters reported May 22.

The bank said in a revised sustainability policy that it will only finance projects in line with international guidelines and plants that use ultra-supercritical or more advanced technology.

Australia

Peabody Energy Corp. will begin the ventilation of the first segment of its North Goonyella coal mine in Queensland, Australia, in consultation with the Queensland Mine Inspectorate, as part of the mine's expected longwall production in 2020.

Europe

France: BNP Paribas SA will no longer finance electricity producers in Poland because of their dependence on the coal industry, Laurence Pessez, the bank's head of corporate social responsibility, said May 23.

She said the bank was obliged to see through existing contracts, but the amount of its loans to the sector would decline "significantly" between 2019 and 2023.

* Paris-based Société Générale SA extended its reduction of coal involvement in a new policy that will be published before July 1, according to a May 23 release.

The bank will end its financial services and product offering to companies that use 50% or more thermal coal in their activities and to companies using between 30% and 50% thermal coal that do not have a strategy to reduce use to 30% by 2025.

Latin America

Colombia: Colombia's coal output in the first quarter of 2019 was up 6.6% year over year to 20.9 million tonnes from 19.6 million tonnes, Reuters reported May 22, citing government figures.

Colombia received more than $170 million in royalties from coal in the first quarter, according to the country's mines and energy ministry.