An apology is in order to Vancouver-based Teck Resources for a reporting error in the earlier story on resumption of full production next month at six of its coal mining operations, five of them in BC.
That story erroneously stated the group included the Quintette Mine about 20 kilometers south of Tumbler Ridge, when in fact it involved five operations in Southeast BC, and one in Alberta, the Cardinal River Mine, in the Hinton area.
Our thanks to company spokesman Doug Brown for drawing our attention to the mistake and noting that the Quintette project remains on care and maintenance at this time.
The rest of the story is based on a Vancouver Sun report, which stated industry analysts still doubt the supply and demand balance will improve any time soon, and future steps to reduce production may be taken, in the fourth quarter, unless the market balance does improve.
The global coal glut, which has forced down the price of metallurgical coal to less than $100 a tonne US from a 2011 high of $330, forced the mine closures and in some cases company bankruptcies.
A case in point was US based Walter Energy, the owner of two other idled mines here in the northeast, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.
The Sun quotes an analyst with the global energy, metals, and mining research group Wood Mackenzie, who speculates it will take several years to really get metallurgical coal markets back into what he calls, “An equilibrium state.”
Joe Aldina adds, “I think prices are close to bottoming out, but there could be more structural changes coming in terms of bankruptcies, reorganizations, mine shutdowns, and different owners of coal companies.
Most BC mines produce coal used for making steel, and reduced demand from Asian buyers and increased output from Australian suppliers have been cited as major price decline factors.
Teck Resource has an interest in 13 mines in Canada, but also has operations in Chile, Peru and the United States.