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Global coal roundup: A weekly review of top international stories

A roundup of international coal news from Jan. 23 to Jan. 30.

Europe

As part of its emissions reduction efforts, Europe's coal generation dropped 12% year over year in 2016, according to a joint report by the think tanks Agora Energiewende and Sandbag. Europe aims to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 against 1990 levels. In 2016, coal's participation in its energy mix fell to 21.6% from 24.6% in 2015. This was offset by gas, which saw its share increase to 18.6% from 15.5% in 2015, after its generation rose 20% year over year, according to the report.

Germany: For Germany to meet its Paris climate commitments, it must begin coal phaseout no later than 2019 and abolish the use of the fossil fuel completely by 2035, EurActiv Germany reported Jan. 23, citing WWF Germany's Electric Future report. "Germany has a coal problem, and we can no longer put off addressing it. Our calculations clearly demonstrate that Germany's very old coal power plants need to be decommissioned as quickly as possible," said WWF Germany's Christoph Heinrich.

Asia

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China's would-be World Bank, has declared its intention to keep its portfolio relatively free of coal projects in a bid to be known as a green bank, The Times (London) reported Jan. 21. The bank is in talks with its member countries over rules regarding lending to coal project developers, the report said. Joachim von Amsberg, its vice-president of strategy and policy, noted that the bank might release funds toward coal projects when deemed necessary, such as to replace an inefficient plant in a country that has dire power needs, the report said.

China: Inner Mongolia Yitai Coal Co. Ltd. expects to post an approximately 2,110% year-over-year jump in its net profit attributable to company shareholders for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016. The increase is attributable to a year-over-year gain in profit per tonne, driven mainly by a continual increase in the coal price, with the improvement of the supply-demand situation a result of supply-side reforms in the coal market, the company said Jan. 23.

India: India's coal imports in 2016 fell 5.4% year over year to 194.93 million tonnes, Reuters reported Jan. 30. The decline was due in part to India's rising domestic coal production, with state-owned Coal India Ltd. on track to produce 504 million tonnes of coal for the current fiscal year that ends March 31.

Vietnam: The uptick of Vietnam's coal demand is projected to continue well into 2030, with the need expected to rise to 86.4 million tonnes by 2020 and 256 million tonnes a decade after. Estimates place necessary investment capital for the coal industry by 2030 at 96.6 million Vietnam dong, Hellenic Shipping News reported Jan. 24.

Australia

Rio Tinto struck a deal to sell its Australian subsidiary Coal & Allied Industries Ltd. to Yancoal Australia Ltd. for up to US$2.45 billion, the companies said Jan. 24. The amount comprises an initial US$1.95 billion in cash, payable at completion, and US$500 million in deferred cash payments, payable over five years after the deal closes.

However, Yancoal Australia is facing several hurdles as the company has now sought local investor support to fund the purchase, The Australian wrote Jan. 26. The parent firm has already committed US$1 billion to Yancoal, but Australian investors would still need to earmark up to A$1.9 billion in fresh equity for the transaction. This compares to A$1.1 billion in equity raised by the entire Australian-listed coal sector in the past half decade, and the raising comes amid tough market conditions for thermal coal.

Africa

South Africa: Universal Coal Plc began open-pit mining at its New Clydesdale operation in South Africa after securing a five-year, 650,000-tonne-per-annum export contract. The open-pit operation marks the second phase of the planned 3.3 million-tonne-per-annum run-of-mine development.

This feature was updated as of 1:32 p.m. ET on Jan. 30. Some external links may require a subscription.