Thursday, October 06, 2011

Global Coal Prospects are Good

...200 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity is under construction around the world - Australia's entire baseload generation is about 25 gigawatts - and on any carbon pricing scenario coal will be the dominant global source of power for decades.

It is the source of more than 50 per cent of power generation in the United States, and more than 70 per cent in China, and in both countries, and in China in particular, growth in coal consumption for energy far outweighs growth in energy production from alternative sources including solar, wind and nuclear energy.

This trend will continue for many years... responsible for more than half the world's steel production. Even if its growth slows for a while from today's clip of about 9.5 per cent, it will need both iron ore and coking coal in prodigious and increasing quantities.

The prices of traded metals, including copper, aluminium and nickel have fallen sharply since July in the market downturn, but coking coal and steaming coal contract prices are still strong.

Coking coal contracts are being set at about $US285 ($A300.6) a tonne, 20 per cent below their highs this year when supplies were disrupted by the Queensland floods, but well above the 2010-11 June year average of $US146.80. Steaming coal contracts are being set between $US115 to $US125 a tonne, up from $US77.80 in 2010-11.

At those levels coal mining is highly profitable: New Hope posted a July year operating profit of $147 million in the year to July on sales of $662 million, for example. The prospect of profits continuing to flow strongly for years even if Western world growth is sub-par is the bait that is luring the overseas bidders. _SMH
More on China's ongoing dependence on coal

Greens are delusional if they think that their anti-nuclear tirades are having a beneficial impact on the environment. The global power choice is between coal and nuclear. It is time for greens to get over their utopian delusions and get honest with themselves.



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