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Rail Service Meltdown Constraining US Coal Sector in Hot Market

U.S. coal miners, eager to sell into a reinvigorated market, are struggling to move their product as train lines tangle with a severe labor shortage.

International prices for the thermal coal used by power plants and the metallurgical coal used to make steel have climbed dramatically over the last 12 months as domestic demand and international demand bounced off pandemic-driven lows and coal producers amped up production volumes. But coal is piling up at the mine as expected freight trains simply do not show up.


Overall, rail employment is down 20.4% since January 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Train operators are working to address the issue but acknowledge it could take several months to fix the shortfall in workers. The assessment of high-vol A metallurgical coal prices from the U.S. East Coast, for example, climbed as high as $525/tonne in March after spending most of 2020 just above $100/tonne, but the supply response has been limited due to the slower train service and other factors.
Coal companies are frustrated over the inability to move more coal into the soaring market.

"The situation is entirely attributable to a meltdown in rail service capability that is affecting shippers of every size and type," said John Ward, executive director for the National Coal Transportation Association, a trade association funded by coal producers and power utilities.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.  

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News


WV Coal Production Increased Over the Last Week by Ten Percent

West Virginia coal production increased week over week by +10.1%. Production increased by +9.1% in the NAPP region of the state and +11.5% in the state’s CAPP region. Compared to the same 18 weeks of 2021, year to date statewide coal production is up +5.7%. +6.3% in the state’s NAPP region and +4.9% in the CAPP region of the state.

National coal production also increased from the previous week by +9%. +9.6% in the Appalachian coal basin, +13.1% in the Interior coal region and +7.6% in the Western coal region. Compared to the same 18 weeks of 2021, U.S. coal production is up +3.8%. +4.2 in the Appalachian region, -2.3% in the Interior coal region and +4.8% in the Western coal region.

EIA reported spot prices for domestic thermal coal increased across all the regions except for the Powder River Basin. Central Appalachian thermal coal pricing increased +1.9% (+$2.25 / ton ), Northern Appalachian +1.2% (+$1.15 / ton), Illinois Basin +1.1% (+$1.35 / ton), Western Bituminous +2.3% (+$0.85 / ton). Powder River Basin coal prices declined week over week by -1% (-$0.15 / ton). Average U.S. natural gas prices increased from the previous week by +1.5% (+$0.11). Compared to the same week in 2021, Central Appalachian thermal prices are up +99.8%, Northern Appalachian +84.6%, Illinois Basin +244.9%, Powder River Basin +25.5% and Western Bituminous prices are up +23%. Average natural gas prices are +144.6% higher than the same week last year.

According to data reported by West Virginia’s two class one railroad systems, the number of unit coal trains in the entire Northern Appalachian and Central Appalachian regions holding per day increased week over week by +25.6% (+1.9 trains per day). Coal carloads on both systems increased +12.5% week over week.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.  

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News.  


Bens Creek Distances Itself From Major Shareholder

Bens Creek Group PLC (AIM:BEN, OTC:BENCF) has started to distance itself from majority shareholder MBU Group Capital to give the US-focused metallurgical coal miner more independence.

An agreement to share administrative services and a licence agreement have been ended, while Bens Creek has shifted out of MBU’s offices to a new location in London.

Bens Creek has also bought MBU out from the leasehold of the land beneath a 3.2-mile rail spur at its mine for a nominal sum.

As part of the changes, Raju Haldankar is stepping down as Bens Creek’s CFO to continue with his role as finance director of MBU, though will remain as a consultant until a replacement is found.  

Adam Wilson, Bens Creek’s chief executive, said: "Since our IPO in October 2021 we have made really significant progress. We have re-opened the mine and commenced production of metallurgical coal. 

"We have signed an off-take agreement and completed the necessary repairs to the rail spur. It is therefore appropriate that we now develop our independence from MBU.

"The prior investment made by MBU has enabled us to take the early significant steps required to enable us to reactivate a dormant mine to one that is now producing metallurgical coal.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.  

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News


The Bluefield Coal & Mining Show – A Show for Mining: Our Past, Present, Future - September 14, 15, 16, 2022

The 24th biennial Bluefield Coal & Mining Show, scheduled for September 14-16, is well under way with exhibitors representing 17 states and Canada signed up thus far.  The Show will have companies providing exhibits in underground coal mining, safety, technology, aggregate, components, and major equipment. The Bluefield event provides the opportunity to network with coal industry leaders, a private suite for business negotiations, and showcasing the latest equipment and technology throughout the mining industry.

The Bluefield Coal & Mining Show affords the attendees firsthand the live demonstrations, state-of-the arts equipment and products, and the chance to discuss product solution for their specific needs in the industry.  

Exhibitors are encouraged to attend the Media and Exhibitor Appreciation Breakfast on site planned for Wednesday, September 14, at the Bluefield Coal & Mining Show, at 8:30 a.m.  A leading Coal Executive will be the keynote speaker and provide remarks for the future about the mining industry. Chairman for the breakfast is Bill Reid, Managing Editor, CoalZoom.com. 

More details will be forthcoming on the upcoming schedule of events, exhibitors’ interviews and seminar presentations for the 2022 Bluefield Coal & Mining Show.  Click here for Frequently Asked Questions and click here for Lodging Guide for the Coal & Mining Show. 

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.  

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News


The End of Flat Power Demand: Electrification, Big Data and Crypto

A new energy era is here. The shale gas glut and years of flat power demand have come to an abrupt end. Those two constants of the past decade have been replaced by soaring gas prices and the return of rising power demand driven by the data revolution and electrification.

Natural gas prices are four times what they were pre-pandemic, and with gas demand stronger than ever, buoyed by ever-rising exports, price relief is nowhere to be seen. Power demand, too, is already beginning to surge in some regions of the country where economic activity is hottest. Increasingly rapid electric vehicle (EV) adoption and almost unbelievable power demand from data centers and crypto mining are wind in the sails of rapid change for the power sector.

The new dynamics of this nascent energy era are putting a spotlight on the expanding challenges of the energy transition. Maintaining reliable and affordable power in the face of upended commodity markets, the inherent complexity of relying on intermittent sources of power, and the return of rising electricity demand will be more difficult than ever.  

Rising Demand from Electrification

The Biden administration has made its intentions about a rapid pivot to EVs clear, aiming for 50% of car sales to be electric by the close of the decade. Billions for battery manufacturing, charging networks and adoption incentives, coupled with stronger than expected consumer demand, have suddenly made that lofty goal seem potentially within reach. Waitlists for new EV-models like the Ford F-150 and Tesla Cybertruck, as well as tens-of-billions in industry investment, have put to bed questions about if an electric future will happen and instead left utilities scrambling to figure out how fast.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.  

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News



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