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Spanish coal imports rise as domestic mines close

Barcelona — Spanish coal imports increased 12% on the year to 1.5 million mt in January after 26 unprofitable domestic coal mines were closed at the start of the year, data published Monday by Spanish customs showed.

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Spanish coal imports rebounded in January following an 18% drop in 2018.

The main increase in imports was from Indonesia, with volume nearly doubling to 642,000 mt, the data showed.

At the same time, there were increases from Australia, of 27% year on year to 340,000 mt, and South Africa, of 10% to 168,000 mt.

By contrast, volume from Russia fell 49% year on year to 296,000 mt.

Indonesia was Spain's largest single supplier in 2018, with a total of 4.49 million mt delivered , up 5.5% from 2017, followed by Russia, down 27% year on year to 3.64 million mt.

At the start of January, Spain closed 26 coal mines that were running at a loss but receiving public funds. This leaves with just one active coal mine, La Escondida in Leon, with an output of around 7,000 mt a month.

Spain is also due to close nine of its 15 coal-fired plants by next year, with the continuing plants almost completely fueled by imported coal.

For the year to date, coal demand for power generation has fallen 21% on the year to 6.0 TWh due to a switch to gas-fired output and a 28% year-on-year increase in solar photovoltaic generation.

-- Gianluca Baratti,

-- Edited by Jonathan Dart,