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Mining People Magazine




“We are shipping coal everywhere

that we can find a home for it.

I mean,

we’re moving coal into South America.

We’re moving coal into Asia. We’re still

moving coal into Europe. The netbacks

on export tons are falling compared to

the levels seen before and the company

is evaluating options to move coal back

into domestic markets.”

–Foresight Energy LP CEO Robert


“It’s a bit of a surprise to look at the

actual volume of coal being shipped

around the globe and see that it is

growing so far in 2019.

In the first seven

months a total of 870.8-million tonnes of

coal, including both thermal and coking

grades, were imported from the seaborne

market, according to vessel-tracking and

port data compiled by Retiniti. That’s 2.1

percent higher than the 852.6 million

tonnes in the same period a year earlier,

and while not a massive increase, the

fact that the seaborne market is stronger

at all in 2019 does challenge the narra-

tive of a dying industry.”


“If you’re in the coal business, these

are times that try you.

The thermal coal

market has pretty much dropped off the

shelf. Even met coal benchmark prices

that have held pretty steady at reason-

ably strong levels over the past year have

now dropped. I attribute falling prices to

uncertainties in the Chinese market, es-

pecially over import restrictions.”

–Randy Atkins, chairman of Ramaco Re-

sources Inc.

“The Wyoming coal in-

dustry is going through

a restructuring. After that


we will still

be producing and utilizing

coal from Wyoming. Tech-

nology to put carbon diox-

ide from coal-fired power plants to wide-

spread, economical use is on track to hit

the market within 10 to 25 years.”

– U.S. Assistant Secretary for Fossil

Energy Steven Winberg.

“The Texas electricity market is noth-

ing if not unique.

It has been described

as having a “Vegas-like quality,” referring

to its boom and bust potential. There are

moments when no one is quite sure if the

lights will stay on that it possesses all the

drama of a roll of the dice at the craps ta-

ble. Analysts from Wood Mackenzie have

gone as far as describing it as ‘being de-

signed to play chicken with blackouts.’”

– Count On Coal.

“Carbon-capture tech-

nology could eventually

follow a path to success

like wind power,


people doubted would be

viable decades ago. Mar-

ket conditions can change.

I haven’t written off coal by any means.”

– Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon

“The Energy Information Administra-

tion expects coal’s share of power

generation to be 24 percent in both

2019 and 2020.

EIA forecasts coal pro-

duction in the western region, which in-

cludes PRB coal as well as coal produc-

tion in the Rocky Mountains, will decline

by 12 percent in 2019. Declines in do-

mestic coal consumption had been par-

tially offset by rising demand for coal in

export markets. Although most US coal

exports are bituminous coal (used for

steelmaking), the US has exported grow-

ing volumes of sub-bituminous coal from

PRB mines to Asian countries for coal-

fired power plants.”

– KallanishEnergy.

“The difficulties of maintaining grid

reliability with increased reliance on

wind and solar power are hardly con-

fined to Texas. Germany and the UK

have been struggling as well. Germany

averted three blackouts of its own in

June and has seen prices both spike

and plunge below zero within days as it

swaps out coal and nuclear energy for

wind and solar. In the UK, more than a

million homes lost power on Aug. 9, in

part because a wind farm tripped offline.

The recent stumbles serve as a warn-

ing shot to the rest of the world … Grid

operators, policy makers and power pro-

viders are learning the hard way that los-

ing massive, around-the-clock genera-

tors can be a challenge, if not carefully


–Count on Coal.

“Recent polling from Morning Consult

found that 70 percent of Americans

want the US to pursue an all-of-the-

above energy strategy

that includes

natural gas, coal, renewables and nucle-

ar power. The very same polling found

that a majority of Americans support gov-

ernment action to upgrade the nation’s

coal fleet. Affordability and reliability of

the nation’s energy supply remain pri-

mary concerns even if most candidates

seem oblivious to them.”

– Count on Coal.

“We’ve shown that,

working jointly with min-

ers, mine operators,

equipment manufactur-

ers, and stakeholders,

we can achieve safety lev-

els that were not thought

to be possible several decades ago. But

it’s still not enough. We thoroughly inves-

tigate each fatality, seeking information

that can be used to prevent similar inci-

dents in the future. Data from those in-

vestigations also help direct our outreach

and enforcement efforts. Our inspectors

inspect every year-round mining opera-

tion at least twice a year, and four times

a year if the mine is underground. They

meet with miners and mine managers,

inspect for hazards, take air and dust

samples if required, and provide guid-

ance on safety and health. Last year,

MSHA conducted 37,000 inspections.

We can never be complacent in our suc-

cesses in reducing mining related injuries

and deaths. Mining requires everyone’s

vigilance to keep it safe.”

– David G. Zatezalo, assistant secretary

of labor for MSHA at the U.S. Department

of Labor.) Photo credit Department of La-

bor Shawn T. Moore.

“The mine workers’

union has never denied

the existence of climate

change or that humans

have contributed to it.

It’s real … and it needs to

be dealt with. The union

supported a 2010 climate bill pushed by

then Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Mar-

key, noting that among other provisions,

the bill would have advance spending on

technologies to capture carbon dioxide

emitted by coal-fired power plants. The

bill passed the House but was not taken

up in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If the 2010 bill had been signed into law,

we would have been way down the road

on clean-coal technologies. The bill’s de-

feat was a missed opportunity.”

– Cecil

Roberts, president of the United Mine

Workers of America.

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