Australian Doubt on Coal China Target

From The Age

By Paddy Manning

AUSTRALIA’S coal industry doubts China will be able to cap its coal use by 2015, without abandoning its commitment to economic growth.

China announced a target of capping its total energy demand at between 4-4.2 billion tonnes of ”standard coal equivalent” in late 2010, before ratifying its 12th five-year plan for 2011-15. (Standard coal equivalent is a measure of the energy in coal, and assumes a calorific value of 7000kcal per tonne, higher than most Australian or Chinese coal.)

UBS commodities analyst Tom Price said it was already ”too late” for China to cap coal use at 4 billion tonnes as in 2012 it consumed 4.05 billion tonnes, counting raw production of 3.8 billion tonnes plus net imports of 227 million tonnes. China’s gross coal imports jumped 32 per cent last year, he said.

Mr Price said China’s monthly raw coal production statistics did not factor in coal washing, which could reduce yields and increase calorific values. ”It will be hard to pin them down on this,” he said.

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