Yancoal Secures Approval to Buy Rio Tinto’s Australian Coal Mines


The $2.5 billion U.S. deal between Yancoal and Rio Tinto has been approved by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), according to Xinhua. The Australian-based Yancoal, controlled by a Chinese parent company, now has regulatory approval to close the deal that will see them pick up key mines as Rio Tinto continues to divest its Australian assets.

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Ukraine Refuses Russian Coal, While Importing from Abroad

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said the country will no longer accept anthracite from areas that are no longer under its control, such as the “anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone” or New Russia as the Russians refer to it, according to Interfax, opting to cover the shortfall from diversified imports. “Of course, we need to buy lacking coal in different countries. I want to say: I back purchases in the United States, Australia… in other countries, but not from the aggressor,” Groysman said at a press conference in Kiev. “There is not a resolution [banning imports of anthracite from Russia], but I think that it is important for us to diversify and not supply it from Russia.”

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North Korean Ships Head Home After China Refuses Shipment

A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, according to the Asia Times, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal. Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product. To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order.

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India to Offer Complete Pricing Freedom to Private Coal Miners

India’s Ministry of Coal has decided to offer pricing freedom and revenue sharing contracts as sweeteners to woo private investors into commercial coal mining in the country. Having thrown open the coal sector to private investors for commercial mining for the first time since 1973 when coal industry was nationalized, India would offer total reserves of around 30 million metric tons (mt) in the first tranche to be allocated to such private miners through the reverse auction route.

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Coal Truckers Protest Renewables in South Africa

Coal truck drivers in South Africa recently protested against the government’s decision to invest in renewable energy from independent power producers. On March 1, traffic came to a standstill in Pretoria, South Africa, when contracted coal truck transporters were moving at a snail’s pace in an effort to get a reaction from the government regarding Eskom’s intention to use more renewable energy, ESI Africa reported. More than 100 coal truck drivers blocked several roads around the capital. In February, while delivering the State of the Nation address, South African President Jacob Zuma said his administration was now more committed to the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). He emphasized a move toward renewables while explaining that the government continues to work toward ensuring national energy security.

India Pushes Coal Production Despite Weak Demand

The Indian government will continue to push for higher coal production in the 2017-2018 fiscal year despite sluggish demand, piling up of pithead stocks and missed targets. Indications available from the federal Ministry of Coal indicate that the latter will set a production target of 660 million metric tons (mt) during 2017-2018 for Coal India Ltd. (CIL), which accounts for more than 80% of domestic supply.

The production target for next year would be about 15% higher than CIL’s expected coal production during 2016-2017. During the period April-December 2016, the miner produced 377.7 million mt of coal, compared to the 417 million mt target set by the Ministry of Coal, as per official data released. It is expected to close in the current fiscal year (at the end of March) with a production of 582 million mt against a government target of 598 million mt.

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Russia, Iran Begin Building Large Power Plant

Russia and Iran have begun the construction of a 1.4-gigawatt (GW) coal-fired power plant in Bandar Abbas in southern Iran, according to Iran Daily, citing Sputnik. The Russian company Technopromexport and an Iranian holding company signed an agreement on the construction of a thermal power plant in Iran with $1.27 billion funded by Russia. The Russians will also improve the efficiency at the Ramin power plant in the Khuzestan Province to 50%-55% from the current 36%, a government official said.

China Bans North Korean Coal Imports

In a bid to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolution that China participated in drafting in November last year, the country has now decided to ban all coal imports from North Korea, according to the Malaysia Sun. China’s decision also comes in light of the recent missile test conducted by North Korea. The country announced the decision in a public notice that was issued by China’s Ministry of Commerce, along with the country’s customs agency.