Anglo Sells South African Coal Assets

Just a few years ago South Africa’s coal industry was on the up and up, shrugging off the malaise affecting the industry elsewhere. Now, many producers face closure in a stunning reversal of fortunes.

As coal mines closed in the US, the UK and elsewhere, South Africa’s mines appeared to thrive. The world’s sixth largest exporter, the country’s mines were however geared mostly toward a single local customer — state electricity utility Eskom.

Only a third of South Africa’s coal is shipped abroad. The rest is sent to a fleet of local power plants, mostly in Mpumalanga province to the east of the country. More than 96% of Eskom’s electricity came from coal. For producers such as Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Xstrata and others, it was a sweet deal with a guaranteed customer.

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Yancoal Secures Approval to Buy Rio Tinto’s Australian Coal Mines

The $2.5 billion U.S. deal between Yancoal and Rio Tinto has been approved by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), according to Xinhua. The Australian-based Yancoal, controlled by a Chinese parent company, now has regulatory approval to close the deal that will see them pick up key mines as Rio Tinto continues to divest its Australian assets.

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North Korean Ships Head Home After China Refuses Shipment

A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, according to the Asia Times, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal. Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on February 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product. To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order.

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India to Offer Complete Pricing Freedom to Private Coal Miners

India’s Ministry of Coal has decided to offer pricing freedom and revenue sharing contracts as sweeteners to woo private investors into commercial coal mining in the country. Having thrown open the coal sector to private investors for commercial mining for the first time since 1973 when coal industry was nationalized, India would offer total reserves of around 30 million metric tons (mt) in the first tranche to be allocated to such private miners through the reverse auction route.

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