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Global coal roundup: A weekly review of top international stories

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Global coal roundup: A weekly review of top international stories

Aroundup of international coal news from Sept. 23 to Sept. 30.

Europe

Germany:Germany's hard coal-fired stations may face earlyclosure as depressed profitability,a surplus of power generation capacity and the rise of renewables affect thewillingness of utilities to spend for upgrades to keep the plants open,Bloomberg News reported Sept. 30. While utilities have closed down about 18% ofGermany's current hard coal-fired capacity since 2011, another 9% are slatedfor closure through 2019, the report said.  

Russia

Coal production in six former Soviet countries totaled232 million tonnes in the first half of the year, the in a six-month periodsince 1996, according to a report the Eurasia Development Bank released Sept.27. Coal prices, however,will remain weak or stagnant until the end of the current decade, despite therevival in prices this year that has helped fuel the record production.

Asia:

India:India has raised its coal sales limit for small and medium firmsto 10,000 tonnes a year in a bid to reduce a glut, Bloomberg News reportedSept. 28, citing the coal ministry. S.N. Prasad, marketing director atstate-run miner Coal IndiaLtd., said the new policy also allows any entity to purchase up tothe maximum amount, which expands the number of prospective buyers.

India's Coal Ministry has postponed future plans toauction off coalblocks as it struggles to manage high coal production and low demand, The New Indian Express reported Sept.28. "Since there were very limited takers during the previous round ofauction ... we have shelved it for a while," ministry officials said."We will wait [until] the market conditions become conducive for auctions."

China:The month of September saw 's coal improve by 10%, to roughly56.1 million tonnes, amid concerns related to prices and tightening supplies,Reuters reported Sept. 30.

Seventy-four major coal mines in China have beenordered by the National Development and Reform Commission to thermal coal production by anadditional 500,000 tonnes per day, Reuters reported, citing sources.

The Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange will begin chargingtransaction fees forthermal coal contracts that were opened and closed in the same day, BloombergNews reported Sept. 27, citing a statement made by the bourse on its website.The stock exchange's action comes amid a record trading volume high as pricesclimb to the highest they've been in two years, the report said.

Despite its commitment to deliveries of coal from North Korea,China importedroughly 2.47 million tonnes of the fossil fuel in August, the highest onrecord, Reuters reported Sept. 26. In its commitment to bar coal shipments fromPyongyang, China made exceptions to allow coal to be shipped for "thepeople's well-being." August imports were 61% higher compared to nearly1.53 million tonnes of coal in April, when restrictions were supposed tocommence, said the report.

Australia

Queensland's Court of Appeals on Sept. 27 a legal challenge against theproposed 30 million tonne Alphacoal mine in central Queensland, ABC News reported. "Today'sdecision is highly disappointing," the report quoted Derec Davies, Coastand Country's spokesman, as saying. He added that the group would considerfurther legal action.

TerraComLtd. has secured US$12 million from an international group tofund the commissioning of its recently acquired Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland,Australia. The company intends to start producing about 2 million tonnes perannum of coal in the fourth quarter and achieve first sales by the end of thisyear, it said Sept. 29.

An act passed in 2014 aimed at expediting coal miningactivities in Queensland, Australia finally commenced on Sept. 27, S&P Global Platts reported,citing the Queensland Resources Council. "This new framework will helpunlock areas for optimal co-development and maximize the resources extracted onbehalf of the state," Platts quoted QRC's CEO Michael Roche as saying.

Australia-listed miner says the recentspike in global coalprices is resulting in weakened assetprocurements in the sector, Reuters reported Sept. 27. According toTerracom, rallying coal prices imply that mines producing the commodity arealso becoming more costly. "There would have been more (industry wide)M&A activity if the price had stayed low a bit longer," the reportquoted Cameron McRae, the company's chairman, as saying.

Mining majors Yancoal Australia Ltd., a subsidiary,and Glencore Plc aresaid to be in advanced discussions to acquire Rio Tinto's coal mining assets in Australia, The Australian reported Sept. 26.According to the report, no single party is conducting exclusive due diligence,but "bilateral talks" are underway between both the hopefuls.

SouthAmerica

Colombia:Colombia's coal production for 2016 will be around 85 milliontonnes, missing the government set target of 90 million tonnes, Bloomberg Newsreported Sept. 26, citing the Colombian Mining Association. Santiago Angel,president of the mining association, said that output increases seen during thesecond quarter from small and medium-sized miners in central Colombia might beattributable to improper data-recording, said the report.

S&P Global Platts andS&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

This feature wasupdated as of 3:42 p.m. ET on Sept. 30. Some external links may require asubscription.