NSW coal mines to tap into global electricity demand increase

NSW coal mines to tap into increasing global electricity demand

Coal fired power stations in Asia and India are hungry for high-quality NSW coal

As technology develops, so do the needs of the industries that are responsible for creating the ‘things’ that we all need in order to live a better life. From manufacturing to construction and urban development, one element is always required to produce the end result. That element is energy; especially electrical energy.

We live in a world where a prime focus is on reducing carbon emissions. The new challenge is to create energy that is kinder to the environment. This is one of the primary goals of nations over the last couple of decades as awareness is raised of the damage CO2 can unleash.

“solar and wind is insufficient and inefficient”

No matter which way you look at it, the choices for alternate sources of energy either seem too expensive or the output from these technologies like solar and wind is insufficient to supply the world’s insatiable appetite for electricity.

“global electricity demand could double between now and 2035”

A report by the International Energy Agency has shown that global electricity demand could double between now and 2035.

Coal has been flagged as the most affordable choice of fuel to generate electricity. Despite the growing demand for LPG and oil, coal is what every country needs – and Australia has a lot of it; and it’s high quality coal too!

“coal mining provides economic growth for the region”

Apart from the coal-rich areas of Queensland, New South Wales has also been gifted with copious amounts of natural coal deposits. The Hunter Valley region of NSW for instance has been a coal mining hotspot for over a hundred years, providing jobs and a means of economic growth for the region.

We are all aware that the Australian coal industry has been taking a beating over the last 10 months or so, as world coal demand slows and prices weaken.

“NSW coal production has increased almost 6 per cent”

Taking these facts into account, it’s heartening to know that NSW coal production has increased almost 6 per cent over the past 2 months, from 185 million tonnes to a whopping 196 million tonnes.

On top of the production, the spin-off effect has been a 10 per cent increase in coal exports, (129 million tonnes to 143 million tonnes), from the coal city port of Newcastle.

Coal exports to China have risen almost 26 per cent.  China has been suffering the effects of over-mining for many, many years. Inefficient and dangerous mining practices have seen the country suffer losses of hundreds of workers and now the Chinese government is doing something about it.

“coal exports to China have risen almost 26 per cent”

According to the China Coal Industry Association over 65 per cent of Chinese coal mining companies are running at a loss. New Chinese regulations have set the stage to lift the standard of mining in the country which will result in the closure of around 2000 coal mines within the next year. Bad news for the Chinese. Good news for NSW coal mines.

We’ve also seen an increase in demand from manufacturing and technology superpower Taiwan, where coal imports have increased by 15 per cent. Other Asian countries such as South Korea imported nine per cent more coal, whereas Japan showed the smallest increase at some four per cent.

“the future for coal mining in Australia could be much brighter”

When you consider similar reforms are happening in developing countries like India, the future for coal mining in Australia could be much brighter than that currently being bandied about. The demand for high quality Australian coal is expected to increase  to fill the gap in the shortfall created by the lack of local  Chinese coal supplies.

A couple of weeks ago the Japanese Prime Minister visited Australian mining projects to finalise new agreements which means long-term contracts with the country.

We won’t be seeing a 180 degree  turnaround in the Australian coal mining industry overnight, however, when you look at the bigger picture, there are signs that things will pick up.

Yes, in 2014 the local coal industry is experiencing challenges; but as long as the coal industry can keep ahead of technology and workers are given the opportunity to become a part of the mining success story, future coal demand from around the world can be met with confidence.

What’s next?

There’s no doubt the coal industry in Australia, like other parts of the world, is experiencing a new era where productivity and efficiency is a top priority. Not only that, mining companies across Australia are facing tough international competition from developing nations who are also vying for a slice of the coal export market.

“a resurgence of coal mining projects in the coming years”

Over the next few years Australia will see a resurgence of coal mining projects rolling out, especially in Queensland, where Indian and  Australian companies are already preparing the way for super-mines to be built.

The development of these coal mines require thousands of workers to build and operate them. The time is right to get back into the mining industry and carve out a well-paid career for those who are prepared to work hard and develop those skills that will be in demand.

“underground mining is set to increase”

Open-cut and underground mining are the two options available to job-seekers, with the indications that underground mining is set to increase from 25 per cent to 40 per cent of total mining activities in Australia.

Helpful tips for mining jobs of the future

People who are serious about a career in the mining industry would benefit from the above tips and advice. Mining is not a ‘walk in’ industry any longer, where you could just turn up at a mine site and get a job. Take it seriously, invest, discover, learn and commit.

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