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Chinese Coal Prices Soar To Record High Ahead Of Surge In Mining

Chinese Coal Prices Soar To Record High Ahead Of Surge In Mining

Remember when China vowed last year hit peak carbon emissions in 2030 and…

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This article was originally published by Zero Hedge
Chinese Coal Prices Soar To Record High Ahead Of Surge In Mining

Remember when China vowed last year hit peak carbon emissions in 2030 and to reach carbon neutrality in 2060? Maybe it will (spoiler alert: it won't)...

... but long before we hit 2060, China plans on taking coal-based pollution to the next level.

Overnight coal futures prices a hit record level and are almost +80% higher than a year ago, signalling a desperate need for China to increase domestic production in the short term, notwithstanding the government’s plan to reduce reliance on coal in the long term. As Reuters energy analyst John Kemp writes, "electricity consumption is surging and the country is struggling to import sufficient volumes of competitively priced spot LNG, boosting the need for coal for power generation." 

Prices for the most-traded thermal coal futures contract on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange hit $150 a tonne on Tuesday, up from $85 a year ago, which was also the five-year average before the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, coking coal on the Dalian Commodity Exchange jumped 4.3% to $448 per ton - both rose to intraday records.

As Reuters notes, surging prices are an indication of the tension between the country’s surging electricity demand and the government’s stated aim to limit coal output and reduce it over time in favor of renewable energy sources.
 
Coal production in the first seven months of the year was up at a compound annual rate of only 4.1% compared with the same period in 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. But the country’s electricity generation increased at a compound annual rate of 7.4% over the same period in response to strong residential and industrial demand.


 
The fastest growth came from wind farms (+25% compound annual rate) and solar power (+24%), with slower growth from nuclear (+10%) and thermal generators (+7%) and a fall in hydroelectric output (-2%).

But both wind and solar are growing from a very low base so they have contributed only a small share of the extra generation required, with most of the extra generation coming from thermal sources, mainly coal.

In the first seven months of the year, China’s power producers generated 4,645 terawatt-hours (TWh), which was 615 more than in the same period in 2019.

But only a minority of the extra generation came from wind (+119 TWh) and solar (+36 TWh) sources, with most coming from thermal plants (+445 TWh)

While China is installing more wind and solar capacity than any other country, it is not enough to keep pace with surging electricity demand, forcing greater reliance on coal in the short term.  As a result, the country is having to run new and existing thermal power plants for more hours; the average thermal generating unit ran for 2,589 hours in the first seven months of this year, up 268 hours (+12%) from the same period in 2020, according to data compiled by the China Electricity Council.

Reflecting the tightening coal supply situation, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic regulator, this summer called for more coal output to help to meet peak demand for air-conditioning.

“Key coal-producing regions such as Shanxi, Shaanxi and Mongolia should take the lead in ... increasing production and supply,” the commission said in a circular issued on July 23.

The NDRC directed all areas and coal mining companies to boost output from larger and more productive mines, accelerating capacity replacement and new construction. It also ordered them to make the production of thermal coal their top priority and do everything possible to help power plants with low stocks to increase their number of days of coal storage, meaning that a deluge of domestic coal production is coming.

Indeed, Daiwa reported that thermal coal stockpiles at the port city Qinhuangdao located in the northern Hebei region, recorded a 12% decline for the week of Sept. 3 to less than 4 million tons. Chan said stockpiles of coking coal dropped 11% from last year. With coal imports sliding, China has just one option left: crank up its domestic coal-mining industry to 11.

Commenting on the soaring prices, Bloomberg echoed Reuters' observations that the ability to source coal has been challenging due to stricter safety policies imposed by the government following a series of deadly mine accidents. There have also been new measures to prevent mine flooding, which is also dwindling supplies. 

"Under current high prices, miners have been incentivized to boost production. This poses higher risk of accidents, which in turn leads to more frequent examinations," Morgan Stanley analyst Sara Chan said in a report. "Coal production is constrained as a result and this creates a circular loop for even higher prices."

The circular loop may persist for now, but it's only a matter of time before China ramps up production as the alternative is an unacceptable surge in prices. This means much more pollution emerging from China in the coming year; this is happening as 23 of the world's 25 most polluting cities are already in China.

Like other countries in Asia and Europe, China’s coal shortages and surging prices reflect the contradiction between the long-term need to move away from coal and the short-term challenge of meeting power demand. In the short term, higher coal prices are signalling the need to boost production to meet power producers’ needs and build sufficient stocks ahead of the winter heating season.

Meanwhile, demonstrating just how much of a straw man China's promises to clean up its act truly are, also on Tuesday China’s carbon price slumped to a new low even as trading volumes increased. Emission allowances traded on China's carbon market, the largest in the world, declined -0.2% Tuesday to close at 43.90 yuan ($6.80) a metric ton, the National Carbon Emissions Trading Agency said in a statement. Price is lowest since the market launched in July, with allowances closing Monday at 44 yuan a ton, signifying that virtually nobody on the mainland is actually serious about reducing the intensity of emissions generation.

Meanwhile, with everyone across the Pacific thinking coal is trash, perhaps there is some material upside opportunity as coal prices rise. Take a look at the Dow Jones U.S. Coal Index has been basing since March.

Is the index ready for an upswing on higher prices? And while we wait, we eagerly look forward to climate change messiah Greta Thunberg launching a critical tirade of China for the smog storm it is about to unleash.

Tyler Durden Tue, 09/07/2021 - 23:50

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Drilling kicks off and uranium analysis planned at Benmara battery metals project

Special Report: Resolution Minerals has started drilling at its Benmara battery metals project in the Northern Territory. … Read More
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Resolution Minerals has started drilling at its Benmara battery metals project in the Northern Territory.

The 2,500m RC drilling program is focused on the highest priority targets of 4km and 2km strike length derived from a VTEM survey – and new Geoscience Australia research which identified prospective rock types previously mis-mapped.

The large-scale targets are prospective for sediment hosted battery metals including copper, silver, lead, zinc, and cobalt.

Plus, the targets are on the margin of the South Nicholson Basin and Murphy Inlier on the Fish River fault which is analogous and along strike from Aeon Metal’s (ASX:AML) polymetallic Walford Creek deposits (40 million tonnes at 2% copper equivalent).

It presents the company with strong exposure to the strengthening demand for battery metals – and a tightening market for copper.

And because the targets have no prior drilling, Resolution Minerals (ASX:RML) is confident this underpins the potential to rerate on any discovery made.

 

Fully funded to ramp up exploration

Resolution is fully funded to complete the drilling with existing cash following a recent $1.7 million placement.

“We are very excited to announce drilling has started on our maiden drill program at the under-explored Benmara Battery Metals Project in the Northern Territory,” managing director Duncan Chessell said.

“The program follows up large scale targets derived from our recent VTEM geophysics survey for sediment hosted stratiform copper and other battery metals.

“With virtually no prior drilling conducted into these large-scale targets, we look forward to the results of this exciting opportunity and accelerating exploration.”

The drilling will take three weeks to complete, with assays expected in early November.

Pic: The company holds the Wollogorang and Benmara copper-cobalt-uranium projects in the NT, which includes the Stanton cobalt deposit.

Assessing uranium upside off the back of strong prices

The area surrounding Benmara is also highly prospective for uranium, with the 51.9-million-pound Westmoreland Uranium deposit nearby.

Additional uranium occurrences have also been mapped within 2km of the Benmara tenement boundaries.

And with rising uranium spot prices close to US$50/lb – a nine-year high – it puts the company in a good position to assess the uranium potential of the project.

 

Wollogorang project potential

Then there’s the company’s Wollogorang project in the McArthur Basin in the NT, which is prospective for sedimentary hosted battery metals: copper, cobalt, and hard rock uranium.

There’s proven mineralisation within the Stanton cobalt deposit of 942,000 tonnes at 0.13% cobalt, 0.06% nickel, 0.12% copper.

And a VTEM survey highlighted the sediment hosted copper potential, identifying 40 conductors.

Plus, drill targets at the Gregjo copper prospect are set to test a chargeable IP geophysical anomaly underlying copper mineralisation intersected in shallow RAB drilling of up to 4% copper.

The project is subject to a $5 million farm-in agreement with OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) to earn 51% interest, after which the company can retain 49% by participating.

Or at Resolution’s election, OZ has the option to earn 75% interest by sole funding to a final positive decision to mine, with Resolution appointed as operator.

 

 

Resolution Minerals share price today:


This article was developed in collaboration with Fresh Equities, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

 This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.

 

The post Drilling kicks off and uranium analysis planned at Benmara battery metals project appeared first on Stockhead.

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Energy & Critical Metals

SSE Renewables and Microsoft launch puffin monitoring pilot

UK energy company, SSE Renewables has launched the Flying Squad initiative to monitor and protect puffins around the Scottish coastline.
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UK energy company SSE Renewables has launched the Flying Squad initiative to monitor and protect puffins around the Scottish coastline.

The initiative will see the energy company team up with Microsoft, tech firm Avanade and NatureScot to monitor puffin numbers.

The technology used for the initiative has recently been tested during the seabird’s breeding season on the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth.

Four cameras in position on the island gathered footage and automatically detected and counted the birds until they recently left the island.

Simon Turner, CTO, Data & AI, at Avanade: “As the investment in renewable energy continues, it’s even more important to ensure that developments, like wind farms, are not having any detrimental environmental effects.

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“With SSE Renewables, we saw an opportunity to use camera and AI technology to more accurately and efficiently, and less invasively monitor the wellbeing and breeding habits of the puffins that are attracted to this particular area on the Isle of May.”

If successful it is expected the technology will be used for a number of species recognition projects around SSE sites including hydropower stations and wind farms.

Rachel McEwen, SSE’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “…Our assets can have far-reaching consequences across a wide range of issues, from reducing the effects of global climate change to supporting local habitats.

“The impacts of our hydro and wind farm operations and our transmission and distribution networks need to be actively managed and what initiatives like the Flying Squad show is that there are also incredible opportunities to be had in protecting and enhancing existing and new habitats as we harness natural resources such as water and wind for renewable energy generation.”

James Scobie from SSE’s Flying Squad. Credit: SSE

James Scobie from the Flying Squad said: “The implications for the Microsoft/Avanade technology are huge. It’s our ultimate aspiration that this incredible cutting-edge technology could be deployed in a variety of different settings to monitor species of interest in the future.”

Erica Knott, NatureScot Marine Sustainability Manager said: “There are exciting possibilities for further development, for example, to track activity at individual breeding burrows or overcome some of the trickier aspects of seabird monitoring, such as remoteness and weather, at other sites.

“This would enhance our understanding of seabird populations and their interactions with human activities, helping us to advise on the future management and monitoring of marine developments, in particular, to secure renewable energy to address climate change while also safeguarding biodiversity.”

Recently, SSE and Microsoft signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), establishing a Sustainability Partnership between the companies, to develop and deploy innovation projects aligned to the zero carbon emissions ambition of both companies.

The MOU represents SSE and Microsoft’s commitment to working together on several future initiatives, to promote the awareness of business challenges and opportunities around sustainability, technology, and digital innovation.

The post SSE Renewables and Microsoft launch puffin monitoring pilot appeared first on Power Engineering International.

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Evergrande Auto Hasn’t Sold A Single Car, But Has Enriched Its Founder And His Friends Plenty

Evergrande Auto Hasn’t Sold A Single Car, But Has Enriched Its Founder And His Friends Plenty

While everyone has been focusing on Evergrande…

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Evergrande Auto Hasn't Sold A Single Car, But Has Enriched Its Founder And His Friends Plenty

While everyone has been focusing on Evergrande as a property developer, few know the story about how Evergrande Auto became worth $86.6 billion at one point without selling a single car. The company now trades at a fraction, about 4%, of its all time high. While shareholders were wiped out for the most part, insiders made out well. 

On Tuesday of this week, the company did what it does best. No, not make vehicles: pay insiders. Evergrande Auto "granted 323.72 million share options worth HK$1.26 billion to three directors and around 3,180 employees of the company," a new report from Caixin notes.

Founder Hui Ka Yan and "friends" in his circle have made out the best from the fallen company. How well have they done? One "friend" of the founder bought 80 million shares in the company before it was renamed as Evergrande Auto for HK$0.30 each. They then sold them all for HK$50 per share, netting the friend more than HK$4 billion.

Hey, it's great work if you can get it. 

Caixin reports that the primary purpose of Evergrande Auto was to raise capital for the group company Evergrande. While the parent company claimed it was investing some 47 billion yuan into the auto company, analysts are starting to wonder if the market funded these investments instead. 

One analyst told Caixin: “Evergrande Auto had raised 30 billion yuan in two rounds, which means that the company mostly used investors’ money — instead of its own capital — to invest, and it managed to gain a high market value (for the auto company). Consequently, with its shares (in the auto company) at high price, it could use them as collateral to raise even more money.”

The company focused more on M&A than it did on making cars, the report says. For example, it bought a major stake in Xinjiang Guanghui Industry Investment Group Co. Ltd. for 14.5 billion yuan in 2018. As Caixin notes, that company is a stakeholder in China Grand Automotive Services Group Co. Ltd., which is one of the largest auto dealers in the country.

The stake was later sold off in 2019 when Evergrande needed cash. 

In 2019, Evergrande Auto's predecessor bought a 51% stake in National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS) for $930 million, the report notes. Evergrande's stock price rose as a result. 

Part of the mechanics that helped Evergrande Auto's predecessor rocket higher included the fact that 18 shareholders owned 19.83% of the company's shares. When combined with the 74.99% of the issued shares held by the company, that only left 5.18% of Evergrande shares to be traded freely. 

Evergrande also acquired a 51% equity stake in Fangchebao Group Co. Ltd. using its shares. Fangchebao then brought in 17 investors in March 2021 that helped it raise capital at a valuation of HK$163.5 billion. Evergrande made HK$8.175 billion upon selling its shares.

Analysts, however, were baffled as to how Evergrande was able to bring in investors at the elevated valuation. The secret lied in a promise of a buyback from Evergrande.

One investor told Caixin: “What we valued was its valuation adjustment mechanism (对赌协议). If Fangchebao failed to go public within a year, Evergrande would buy back our shares at a 15% premium to the prevailing market price. At least, through this mechanism, we could get out money back.”

Those investors thought Evergrande could continue to push up Fangchebao's valuation and that Evergrande wouldn't fail within a year.

Another investor said: "However, Fangchebao was a relatively poor quality company, much worse than Evergrande Property Services. In Fangchebao’s case, it was better not to go public. It would be more troublesome after the listing because its poor performance would become public knowledge.”

Then there's the question of who truly benefitted from Evergrande's financial wheeling and dealing over the years. While investors and shareholders now suffer the consequences of the company's poor decision making, Hui Ka Yan's personal assets are now mysteriously being "transferred to new ownership", the report says. In fact, Hui was easily the single biggest beneficiary of the dividends paid by Evergrande from 2011 to 2020. 53 billion yuan of the 69 billion yuan that Evergrande has paid in dividends since it listed have gone to Hui.

You can read Caixin's detailed report here

Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 19:20
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