The coal industry remains one of the most important branches of the world economy; however, with the rapid development of oil and gas, thinking in the last quarter of the 20th century, it has somewhat lost its meaning. The share of coal in world energy consumption is constantly decreasing, which is why it is very important to get acquainted with the trend in the coal market.
Analysis of the coal market in 2023
The coal industry is a branch of the fuel and energy complex that produces, beneficiates, and briquettes coal. Coal began to serve as the main energy source even during the industrial revolution in Europe. At the beginning of the 20th century, the share of coal in the global fuel and energy balance was 94.4%. Production volumes were constantly increasing, with the exception of the years of the Second World War. The displacement and replacement of coal with a liquid and gaseous fuel took place in the second half of the 20th century.
Technological characteristics of the coal market determine the high efficiency of its use in blast furnaces. Thus, the use of coal allows reducing blast furnace coke consumption by up to 50% and replacing the use of natural gas. In this regard, blowing coal dust is evaluated as the most promising energy-saving technology in blast furnace production, despite quite serious investments.
Among the main problems that arise in the coal market are the following:
- shortage of coal for own production;
- lignite industry crisis;
- chronic unprofitability of the industry, primarily of state-owned enterprises;
- insufficient amounts of capital investments in new construction and renewal of fixed assets of coal-mining enterprises.
The main trends in the development of the global coal market
The coal industry was and remained an important basic branch of the economy. Coal is the main source of energy, so it is difficult to assess the importance of the coal industry. This is due to measures to curb the widespread use of coal in recent decades since it is much less environmentally friendly than oil and gas, and its use is increasingly limited to fuel for thermal power plants and raw materials in metallurgy.
Among the latest trends in the coal market you need to know about are the following:
- Investing in the development of coal deposits is losing its relevance.
The policy of responsible investment, which is gaining popularity around the world, prohibits many of the world’s investment funds and banks from investing in coal projects. However, for the further development of the industry, it is necessary to implement a whole series of reforms, revise the principles of its state financing, adapt the coal industry to today’s conditions, and make it modern and safe.
- One of the most dominant factors in the modern world economy is the process of globalization.
Globalization is characterized by the cross-border movement of capital, international trade in goods and services, and labor migration. In turn, the foundation of the process of globalization of the world is geo-economics as a new paradigm of the world order.
- Despite the refusal of many states from coal, its consumption on a global scale remains stable.
The adoption of such political decisions should be based on the results of consultations with local authorities of coal-mining regions, public organizations, businesses, and other interested parties. The decline in coal production is caused by a number of issues that are being addressed at the state and mine levels.