Mine Explosion Kills 12 Polish Coal Miners

A methane explosion at a coal mine in southern Poland on September 18 killed 12 miners and left 15 seriously injured, according to Agence France Presse. About 30 miners were hospitalized after the blast ripped through the Wujek-Slask mine in Ruda Slaska-Kochlowice. Wujek-Slask mine spokesperson Andrzej Bielecki said around 40 miners were underground in the area where the blast occurred at a depth of 1,050 m (3,500 ft). Of those, 29 emerged to the surface and the rest were evacuated, Bielecki said, warning the death toll could rise as several had suffered serious burns. The explosion was the worst for Polish mines since the death of 23 miners in November 2006 in a methane blast at the Halemba mine nearby. Poland’s most recent mine accident involved the death of six miners in a methane explosion at the Borynia mine in southern Poland in June 2008.


Shell, Shenhua Join in Clean Coal Research & Development

Shell (China) Ltd. and Shenhua Coal to Liquid and Chemical Co. Ltd. Agreed to seek opportunities for conducting joint research and development in clean coal technology. Under a memorandum of understanding between Shell and Shenhua, the two parties will explore opportunities to jointly develop more advanced coal gasification technology. In addition, they will discuss the possible application of carbon capture and storage technology. A joint working team will be set up to implement the agreement.


Vale’s Coking Coal Output Seen Higher in Mozambique

Global miner Vale’s Moatize coal mine in Mozambique could produce up to 12.7 million metric tons (mt) of hard coking coal per year in the first phase of the project, according to Reuters. The company had previously forecast an annual production of 8.5 million mt of hard coking coal. Vale said the mine would also target to produce 2.4 million mt of thermal coal for exports and an additional 2.5 million mt for a 600-mw power station the company plans to build close to the mine.


Peabody Energy Establishes Asian Coal Trading Hub in Singapore

Peabody Energy recently opened an office in Singapore that will serve as the new hub for Peabody COALTRADE International activities in Southeast Asia. “Our presence in Singapore will expand our sourcing and shipping capabilities to China, India, Indonesia and other key Asian markets,” said Peabody Chairman and CEO Greg Boyce. “The expectation is that these markets will continue to expand at a 5% to 10% compound annual growth rate, and Peabody is best positioned to capitalize on that growth.” Pacific seaborne coal demand is strong as Asian nations lead the world out of recession and drive sustained growth in coal consumption. China is the fastest-growing coal market in the world, and net coal imports are up nearly 150% in 2009. India is the fastest-growing coal importer and expects to be short by as much as 200 million tons of coal per year within five years. Australia and Indonesia are the top global coal exporters.


Mechel’s Mines Cuts Coal Output 47% in Russia’s Kuzbass Region

Mechel coal and steel group Yuzhny Kuzbass, or Southern Kuzbass Coal Co., cut coal production 46.5% year-on-year in January to July to 5 million metric tons (mt), Interfax reported. A sharp drop in coking coal production, by 2.6 million mt to 2.2 million mt was mainly responsible for the overall reduction in output. Demand for coking coal started to plummet in the fourth quarter of last year. As a result, Southern Kuzbass produced just less than 15 million mt of coal last year as a whole including 7.8 million mt of steam coal and 7 million mt of coking coal. It produced 18.6 million mt in 2007 including 8.7 million mt of coking coal. Southern Kuzbass is one of Russia’s largest coal producers. It operates four open-pits, three deep mines and four prep plants in the Kuznetsk basin in the Kemerovo region.