Russia may quadruple coal output

Russia may grow its current coal production levels by five times by 2030, dwarfing Australian production rates which have begun slowing down.

Speaking at a meeting of the development of the coal industry, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev stated that “there is the possibility to increase [current levels] five times by 2030,” adding that it expects to grow its export market, particularly in the Asian sphere, according to Itar-Tass.

With current market conditions particularly harsh for the coal mining industry, this news may be a serious blow for the Australian coal industry, which is currently suffering from low coal prices and a raft of mine closures and lay-offs.

In 2009, Australia had an output of 409 million tonnes of coal, and accounted for 6.7% of the world's production, while the Russian Federation only had an output of 298.1 million tonnes and accounted for 4.1% of global production, putting them fourth and sixth for output globally, respectively, according to BP global statistical review of energy sources in 2010.

However since this time, while the mining boom has increased Australia's output it also cut its reserves from 9.2% of the world's reserves down to 8.9%.

Added to this is the current slow down that is seeing projects delayed, while at the same Russia rose to become the fifth largest coal producing country in the world.

In BP's 2011 review of world energy Australia retained its fourth place globally and increased its production by 6.5 million tonnes to 415.5 million tonnes, it actually dropped in total share down to 5.8%, while Russia increased its production levels by 35.4 million tonnes to 333.5 million tonnes in 2011.

Now Russia is planning to ramp up its production levels to 380 million tonnes in 2020, and up to 430 million tonnes by 2030, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said.

Export, particularly to coal hungry China, will also be a focus.

“We expect a growth of six million tonnes to the Atlantic market, while the bulk of the demand will be in the Asia-Pacific region,” Novak said.

Russia has some of the world's largest coal reserves.

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