In early October 2009, as Climate Justice Activists met on the one hand and UN government negotiators discussing a replacement of the Kyoto Climate Protocol met on the other, both in Bangkok,  two news reports about plans to ensure destruction of civilization by speeding global warming through increased burning of coal appeared:

China boosts coal imports following improved mining safety

Published: Oct. 5, 2009 at 4:15 PM

BEIJING, Oct. 5 (UPI) — China is making efforts to improve coal-mining safety, which is forcing the country to boost imports.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday that more than 250,000 China miners have died in coalmine accidents since 1949. Shanxi province has produced far more coal and suffered more coalmining deaths than anywhere else in China. The issue of mining safety is a sensitive one with the Chinese government; the country’s worst mining accident occurred in 1960 when 682 people died, with the incident classified as a state secret and not revealed until 28 years later. In the past 10 years the Chinese government has repeatedly launched mine-safety campaigns, but their effectiveness has been diminished by corruption and cronyism.

In the wake of another mining accident in Shanxi province last year, provincial governor Meng Xuelong was fired and replaced with Wang Jun, then director of the State Administration of Work Safety. Wang reordered the province’s priorities reducing mine deaths but also cut Shanxi’s coal production and impacted its economy.

Shanxi’s coal shortfall offered an opportunity for Australian coal exporters for the first time in history, reflected in export statistics. For the period January-July, Australia’s coal exports to China reached 8.8 million tons, up 986 percent from the same period in 2008.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

OCTOBER 8, 2009

Coal India May Invest in Ports as Imports Surge


NEW DELHI – Coal India Ltd. is considering investments in ports as local infrastructure will be inadequate to meet an expected tenfold jump in its coal imports in the next two to three years, its director of marketing said Thursday.

The state-owned coal mining monopoly expects its imports to rise to 40 million to 45 million metric tons from the current fiscal year’s estimate of 4 million tons, A.K. Sarkar said at a coal conference.

The company’s fiscal year runs from April through March.

Imports will rise due to growing demand being boosted by 44 gigawatts of additional coal-based power generation capacity. India currently has an installed capacity of 152 GW, of which 53% is coal-based.

“If we have to import that much coal, we need to have our own infrastructure. There’s no use acquiring assets abroad and not being able to bring the coal,” Mr. Sarkar said.

India expects its coal demand to rise to 731 million tons a year by March 2012 from 604.3 million tons in the current year. Demand in 2012 will outstrip supply by 51 million tons, which will have to be met through imports.

However, investments in infrastructure to transport the coal are inadequate. Due to transportation infrastructure issues, Coal India’s inventories are expected to rise to 50 million-55 million tons in the current financial year from 47.8 million tons a year earlier, its Director, Technical N.C. Jha said.

“There are serious problems in transporting coal. The infrastructure requires huge investments,” Mr. Sarkar said. “Even if we produce the coal, how do we transport it?”

Coal India expects India’s projected demand-supply gap to be much more than the forecast 51 million tons in the year ending March 2012 due to delays in bringing new mines into operation. The company, which had originally expected to bring new coal mines with a capacity of 169.2 million tons onstream by March 2012, is already behind schedule on 33 million to 34 million tons of additional capacity.

“We have to face problems arising out of delays in (government) environment and forest clearances and land acquisition,” Mr. Sarkar said.

It takes up to six years in India to get the necessary forest clearances, Mr. Jha said.

The company is, however, planning to boost supplies through imports and overseas acquisitions.

“We have a goal to have 12 million tons of coal from overseas acquisitions by 2012 and 50 million tons by 2020,” Mr. Sarkar said.

The company recently acquired two coal blocks in Mozambique and is looking for more acquisitions in Australia, South Africa, the U.S. and Indonesia.

Mr. Sarkar said Coal India will also introduce outsourcing and contract mining at a number of mines.

Coal India has also received bids from 10 companies keen on developing its 18 abandoned mines, which have 1.6 billion tons of reserves.

It expects output at these mines to start by the end of fiscal 2014.

Write to Rakesh Sharma at