Volume 2 Issue 2

From the Editor

A Common Thread of Safety

By Holly Krutka

Holly KrutkaThe current issue of Cornerstone focuses on mining safety and energy poverty. These two issues are connected by a common thread: Every person on this planet deserves to live and work in safe conditions. Indoor air pollution caused from combustion of solid fuels, generally used by those without modern energy access, is one of the most important health and environmental problems facing our world today.

Cover Story

Shifting the Paradigms of Health and Safety in Mining

By Anthony Hodge

Cover Story 2-2In 2001, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) was founded to improve sustainable development performance in the global mining and metals industry. Today, we bring together 22 mining and metals companies as well as 33 national and regional mining associations and global commodity associations to address core sustainable development challenges.

Voices

Commitment to Safety

By Milton Catelin

Working across the global industry to share knowledge about safe work practices is an important part of improving safety.Nothing is more important to the coal industry than ensuring our people return home safely at the end of the working day. A combination of rigorous safety processes, employee training, new technologies, and better communication has led to significant improvements in safety in coal mining globally. The articles in this issue of Cornerstone, including from a number of WCA members, demonstrate the level of commitment to improving safety performance globally.

Modern Energy: The “Golden Thread” That Connects People, Economies, and Progress

By Gregory H. Boyce

Household air pollution from indoor fires results in a stunning 100 million years of life prematurely lost each year, based on Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY), a metric established by the World Health Organization. Each DALY represents one year of healthy life lost to disease.Access to modern energy is as basic as food, water, or shelter, enabling a high standard of living, and helping people live longer and better. Every single one of the UN Millenium Development Goals depends on energy. Yet one of every two citizens in the world—about 3.5 billion people—awaken each day with little or no access to energy. For these people there is no enduring light, no refrigerators to keep food fresh, no clean, safe way to warm their homes.

Studying the Dominance of Coal in China’s Energy Mix

By Zhang Kehui

Modern coal mines can employ technologies to achieve zero discharge of dust or gangue to the nearby environment; the mine is a closed loop process to mitigate affecting the environment.China is facing serious environmental problems. Unlike most developed countries that had experienced such problems in their post-industrial eras, China is still in the process of industrialization. How to maintain a balance between economic development and environmental protection is quite a challenge for the country; the selection of sources of primary energy has a direct impact on the total costs of a society and, therefore, must be comprehensively evaluated based on four key factors: cost-effectiveness, security/safety, environmental impact, and availability.

Hedging Carbon

By Zhang Kehui

Conversion of CO2 into other materials could contribute to global CO2 mitigation efforts, but more R&D is needed.The business of an electric utility is to manage the risk of producing and delivering a reliable and affordable power supply. Utilities do this on behalf of tens of thousands, if not millions, of customers across large areas through an economy of scale only known in the last century. For decades, utilities have well managed operational, market, financial, and regulatory risks to provide the electricity that has allowed economies to thrive and quality of life to improve.

Energy Policy

Advancing the Alleviation of Energy Poverty

By Nicholas Newman

Newman Figure 1-revised 2Living without any or limited access to energy has been termed “energy poverty”—a simple name for a complex problem. Energy poverty has proven challenging to alleviate; it’s also been difficult to define. The World Bank’s Global Tracking Framework (GTF) is the world’s premier approach to tracking energy poverty. According to the GTF, about 1.2 billion people are living without household electricity and 2.8 billion without clean cooking and heating fuels.

Energy Poverty in India and What’s Needed to Address It

By Anil Razdan

The concepts of faster growth and good governance were recurring themes during India’s 2014 general elections, which saw a sweeping victory by the Bhartiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi.For a developing country such as India, the eradication of poverty is the foundation of the planning process for the economy. Accelerated growth is often the vehicle to eliminate poverty, and adequate energy is central to India’s growth strategies. Poverty is reflected not only in the disposable income of a household, but also in the level of energy available to a household to meet its need for cooking, lighting, and gainful employment. There is an increasing recognition of the importance of access to clean and reliable energy for poverty alleviation.

Balancing South Africa’s Energy Poverty and Climate Change Commitments

By Nikki Fisher

Growing up without electricity, which is the case for many children in South Africa, provides very little opportunity to extract oneself from poverty.A life lived without access to modern energy is a life lived in poverty. Nearly half of the people living in energy poverty globally reside in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, seven out of 10 people in Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 600 million, do not have access to electricity. Although South Africa may have lower rates of energy poverty than most of its neighbors, it remains a prominent example of a country struggling to develop its economy and provide opportunities for its people to extract themselves from energy poverty.

Europe Struggles to Pay Its Energy Bill

By Aleksandra Tomczak

In Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, 50% of people are not able to keep their homes warm in the winter due to disproportionately high fuel costs.Although attention surrounding energy poverty is often focused on developing countries, the impacts associated with fuel poverty and high electricity costs have proven to be deadly in Europe. Many Europeans cannot adequately heat their homes and have difficulty paying their utility bills. In fact, between 50 and 125 million people are affected by fuel poverty in Europe.

Strategic Analysis

Shenhua Group’s Preemptive Risk Control System: An Effective Approach for Coal Mine Safety Management

By Hao Gui

The author communicates with miners regarding potential safety hazards.The Shenhua Group Corporation, Ltd (Shenhua) is a large, fully integrated coal-based energy enterprise; its principal businesses include mining, electric power, railway, ports, shipping, coal-to-liquids (CTL), and coal-to-chemicals. All these sectors can be high risk when it comes to safety and, therefore, achieving safe operation has been a challenge.

Evaluating Safety and Health in Australia’s Mining Sector

By Melanie Stutsel

The traditional ways of thinking about safety may not be the best approach for Australia’s mining sector.Australia’s mining sector seeks to be a global leader in safety and health, but a recent spike in accidents has underlined the need to continue improving. The industry is now exploring new ways of thinking about safety to reach its ultimate goal: zero harm. Although the minerals industry accepts that inherent hazards exist, there is no reason for working in the industry to be dangerous. Recognizing this distinction is important. It helps in the identification of effective strategies and actions needed to deal with the risks associated with mining.

CORESafety®: A System to Overcome the Plateau in U.S. Mine Safety and Health Management

By Bruce Watzman

Watzman Figure 3The National Mining Association (NMA) is an advocate at the federal level for mining companies in the U.S. The NMA not only advocates for mining companies, but also acts as a leader in key areas that are critical for the sustainability of the industry. Few issues are more important to the mining industry than safety. Therefore, the NMA is spear-heading a movement to improve safety and health management in the U.S. mining industry.

Sustainable Charcoal: A Key Component of Total Energy Access?

By Aaron Leopold

Household air pollution created during cooking and heating, often with unsustainable biomass, is responsible for about 4.3 million fatalities per year.Energy poverty fuels the poverty trap. Long hours of hard manual labor, subsistence work, and wood gathering leave people exhausted after a day’s work. Teachers and doctors cannot adequately perform their jobs without energy, and often will not move to areas lacking such infrastructure services. Without energy to pump water, crops whither and people are forced to drink water they know is making them sick. The list goes on, but there is more than just a litany of moral arguments or basic needs surrounding the case to eradicate energy poverty.

An Analysis of the Interdependence Between China’s Economy and Coal

By Xie Heping, Liu Hong, and Wu Gang

In addition to power generation, coal is also used as a raw material and energy source to support rapid growth of the steel and construction materials industries.China’s energy policies and development strategies have always emphasized domestic energy development. As China’s most abundant, most economical, and most reliable fossil fuel, coal has long been the principal energy source supporting economic development; this has led to a unique, complementary interdependence between China’s coal industry and its economy.

Technology Frontiers

Synergetic Technologies for Coal and Gas Extraction in China

By Yuan Liang

Although CBM poses a potential hazard during the process of coal mining, once extracted it is a useful energy resource that can be used in many industries.China is rich in coal-bed methane (CBM) resources. The cumulative proven geologic CBM reserves are 102.3 billion m3 and the recoverable reserves are about 47 billion m3. The projected amount of CBM at depths shallower than 2000 m is 36.8 trillion m3, which ranks third in the world.CBM offers several important functions that are discussed in this article.

The Global Need for Clean Coal Technologies and J-COAL’s Roadmap to Get There

By Uichiro Yoshimura and Toshiro Matsuda

Japan’s coal-fired power plants are some of the most efficient in the world. The steam turbine at J-Power’s ultra-supercritical Isogo plant is shown above.Global coal use has rapidly expanded in recent decades—from 2.2 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) in 1990 to 3.7 billion toe in 2011. Much of the increase in coal utilization was from the construction of new coal-fired power plants; global coal-based electricity generation increased from just over 4400 TWh in 1990 to approximately 9100 TWh in 2011. Under the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) New Policies Scenario, in 2035 there will be more than 12,300 TWh of global coal-based electricity, an increase by a factor of approximately 1.4.

Global News

Movers & Shakers

Anglo American has announced the appointment of Themba Mkhwanazi as the CEO of its coal business in South Africa, following Godfrey Gomwe’s retirement.

International Outlook

Indonesia, who leads the world in coal exports with about 70% of produced coal being sold mostly to India and China, is considering a regulation to more closely control exports as domestic demand rises.

Key Meetings & Conferences

Globally there are numerous conferences and meetings geared toward the coal and energy industries. The table below highlights a few such events. If you would like your event listed in Cornerstone, please contact the Executive Editor at cornerstone@wiley.com.

Recent Select Publications

Emissions Reduction through Upgrade of Coal-Fired Power Plants: Learning from Chinese
Experience
focuses on two power units in China that were selected to showcase measures that would improve their net efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions; experiences learned in China can be applied to improving coal-fired power plant efficiency worldwide.

From the WCA

The World Coal Association has appointed a new Chairman: Harry Kenyon-Slaney, the Chief Executive of the Energy division of Rio Tinto, a leading international mining and metals group headquartered in the UK.

Letters

Letters to the Editor

To submit a letter, please email cornerstone@wiley.com.

 

The content in Cornerstone does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Coal Association or its members.