COAL :Prices for thermal coal, After energy crisis global used to generate electricity, have leapt to record levels as a result of the war, which has led to many European countries losing access to vital supplies of natural gas and coal from their top provider Russia.
The sleepy Tanzanian port of Mtwara mainly dealt in cashew nuts until late last year. Now it bustles with vessels loading up with coal, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drives a worldwide race for the polluting fuel.
Tanzania traditionally exports thermal coal only to neighbouring countries in east Africa; sending it further afield was out of the question, as it required trucking the material more than 600 km from mines in its southwest to Mtwara, the nearest Indian Ocean port.
Europe’s crippling energy crisis has changed all that.
Buyers in Europe and beyond energy crisis global are now vying to pay top dollar for coal from often remote mines in places such as Tanzania, Botswana and even potentially Madagascar. The resurgent coal demand, driven by governments trying to wean themselves off Russian energy while keeping a lid on power prices, clashes with climate plans to shift away from the most polluting fossil fuel.
While China imports coal from Russia rose in August, exceeding last month’s level and hitting the highest in at least five years, as power utilities in the world’s biggest coal consumer sought overseas supplies to meet soaring demand in extreme hot weather.
Arrivals of Russian coal last month reached 8.54 million tonnes, up from the previous peak of 7.42 million tonnes in July and 57% higher than in the same period last year, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.
The monthly figure was the highest since comparable statistics began in 2017.
Imports from Russia have surged in recent months as Europe suspended purchasing from the country after it sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine, forcing Russian coal to be traded at a steep discount.
Prices for Russian coal have climbed as both China and India stepped up buying, traders said, but were still cheaper than the domestic coal of same quality.