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Posts Tagged ‘energy coal’

Coal India Plans JV With Indonesian Mining Company

September 28, 2011 Comments off

“Coal India Ltd. plans to ask the Indonesian government to allocate it a coal mine, and also seek approval to set up a joint venture with a state-run mining company there. Coal India will ask for the approvals at an October meeting of a coal working group set up by the two countries, Interim Chairman Nirmal Chandra Jha said recently.
He didn’t name the Indonesian company or specify the reserves of the mine that Coal India is targeting.

The proposed Indonesian venture will come after a brief overseas pause for Coal India, the world’s largest producer of the fossil fuel. The company has halted its overseas acquisition plans due to delays in getting government approvals. The coal ministry last year told Coal India to invest only in listed overseas companies after allegations of corruption rocked the federal government. Coal India has so far succeeded in getting allocation of only two blocks in Mozambique.”

Source: Wall Street Journal, September 21 2011

Observations:

  • Indian power utilities imported about 42 million tonnes of Indonesian thermal coal last year. Coal fired powerplants produce over half of the country’s electricity. Various Indonesian coal miners are already tied up with Indian financial partners (e.g. Bumi & Tata).
  • Indonesia is working on a ban of exports of coal with low calorific value (<5100kcal/kg), which would threaten part of the thermal coal exports from the country.
  • Indonesia’s energy coal products exports to China has increased by over 25% per year for the past 5 years.

Implications:

  • The Indian government actively tries to reduce secure reliable access to coal via both Coal India and targeted acquisitions by ICVL. As increase of domestic production is slow the government might try to lure foreign miners into operating assets in India to boost productivity.
  • Increased Indian investment interest in Indonesia will pressure the Indonesian government to speed up the regulatory processes around the new Mining Law and the proposed environmental taxes. The new law was introduced over 2 years ago, but implementation regulations are still not fully worked out.

©2011 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com

India in race to snap up coal assets

June 7, 2011 Comments off

“From the mining belts of Queensland, Australia, to East Kalimantan in Indonesia, Indian companies are racing to secure coal assets across the globe. Last year, Indian companies overtook those from China, Korea and Japan as the biggest Asian buyers of overseas coal assets. They were following their US counterparts in trying either to increase their exposure to coal at a time of high commodity prices or lock in fuel supplies for industries such as steelmaking.

Unable to guarantee access to supplies at home because of a mixture of bureaucracy, corruption, logistical and environmental issues, many Indian groups have been aggressively trying to buy assets in Indonesia and Australia. India signed $2.4bn of deals out of a global total of $16bn last year, according to Wood Mackenzie, the consultancy. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s coal association has said it expects India to surpass Japan as the leading buyer of the country’s coal.”

Source: Financial Times, June 6 2011

Observations:

  • According to Ernst & Young’s analysis of M&A in the mining industry over 2010 India has risen to the 7th place worldwide with $5.5bln overall acquisitions in the industry. A large part of India’s acquisitions are aimed at coal mines and transportation infrastructure.
  • Most Indian acquirers of coal assets are private utility-linked companies, which are mainly interested in thermal or energy coal assets.

Implications:

  • The gold-rush mentality of many new players and the resulting high premiums paid for coal assets will help the industry in India consolidate, as the more sophisticated players will soon outperform the players that pay too much for access to resources.
  • The Indian government is trying to mobilize state controlled companies to participate in the bidding for overseas coal assets. The creation of the ICVL consortium and the IPO of Coal India are aimed to create more coordination in government efforts.

©2011 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com

AEMFC: South Africa’s state owned miner

March 2, 2011 Comments off

“South African President Jacob Zuma launched the new ‘competitive’ State mining company, which will produce 800 000 t/y of energy coal at its first mine and synthetic crude oil from another in 2013. President Zuma turned the first sod at the new R130-million ($18.7mln) 120-employee Vlakfontein coal mine, which is situated 100 km east of Johannesburg and 10 km northwest of the town of Ogies, the first venture of the State-owned African Exploration Mining & Finance Corporation (AEMFC), which envisages being a top-five coal producer by 2020.”

AEMFC CEO Sizwe Madondo tells Mining Weekly Online that discussions with State electricity utility Eskom indicate that the Vlakfontein coal, which will be produced at an initial rate of 800 000 t/y, will be competitively priced. Eskom, which will be the buyer of the Vlakfontein coal, currently burns 115-million tons of coal a year, and expects to be burning 250-million tons a year by 2018.”

Source: Mining Weekly, February 26 2011

Observations:

  • Original launch of the state-owned company at Vlakfontein mine was planned for October 2010, but was postponed for several months. Apart from operating the coal mine the government aims to combine its minority participation in mining companies around the country in AEMFC.
  • The company appears to be mainly focused on Energy minerals (coal, synthetic oil from coal, and uranium). The ambition to be a top-five coal producer by 2020 therefore most likely is based on energy coal production.
  • According to BP’s energy statistical review South Africa accounts for 3.7% of world coal reserves and 4.1% of global production, which makes it the world’s 6th-largest coal producer (behind China, USA, Australia, India, and Indonesia)

Implications:

  • Fears of the ANC government nationalizing mines to benefit from the high profits in the industry have been tempered by the mining minister recently when he rejected a proposal by ANC’s youth organization to start nationalization. However, the existence of a state owned mining company makes the step to nationalize assets easier in case a future governments has a different opinion.
  • The investment climate for developing reserves and obtaining licenses for foreign companies will only become more challenging now that a local state-owned player is competing for the same opportunities. It will be hard for the South African government to prevent corruption and avoid an image of an unlevel playing field.

©2011 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com

The coal boom: burning ambitions

February 1, 2011 Comments off

“The IEA estimates that China, which generates more than 70% of its electricity with coal, will build 600 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power capacity in the next quarter-century—as much as is currently generated with coal in America, Japan and the European Union put together. China’s efforts to improve coal supplies include the building of a new east-west passenger railway line, set to open in 2013, which should free existing tracks for coal transport. New high-speed and light railways across the country may alleviate bottlenecks further. But for the foreseeable future the country will depend on ships laden with foreign coal. … America, the world’s second-biggest coal producer after China, has mammoth reserves and a power industry that is turning against coal. Environmental regulations and cheap shale gas will leave miners looking for new markets overseas.”

The Economist's analysis of global coal reserves

Source: The Economist, January 27 2011

Observations:

  • The IEA’s Global Energy Outlook 2010 foresees a stabilization of the global coal fired electricity generation around 2020 at 11TWh, approx. 40% above current level.
  • China’s share of global coal production has increased from 25% in 1995 to 39% in 2008. Still the country recently turned into a net coal importer, especially facing high demand for imported metallurgical coal.

Implications:

  • China’s coal reserves are definitely not infinite. The 38yrs lifetime calculated by the Economist will be a reason for the Chinese government to eliminate the coal-dependence for electricity generation long before 2050. However, the climate change battle will be fought in the era of growing coal consumption in China.
  • India still has a lot of coal reserves and the government is trying to create alignment in the national coal mining sector to enable increased output. However, imports from Indonesia, South Africa, Australia and potentially the USA will certainly be needed in India to enable a building boom like China has experienced in the past decade.

©2011 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com