5 June 2019

South Africa: Coal Is a Commodity King, but Bankers Regard It As a Fossil, If Not Outright Radioactive


US President Donald Trump may love coal, but bankers who actually have to make money - as opposed to losing it on property and casino misadventures - are reluctant to sink capital into new projects to produce the commodity, according to PwC. South Africa's minister of mines and now also energy Gwede Mantashe, on the other hand, still has a soft spot for the commodity that keeps our lights burning (most of the time).

In 2018, coal was still the undisputed the king of commodities. According to accounting and consulting group PwC's annual report on the global mining industry - presented to South African media at the Junior Mining Indaba in Johannesburg - "coal remains the largest revenue-generating commodity, supporting 38% of global electricity generation".

The report, which takes a deep dive in trends of the world's top 40 mining companies, further noted that "Top 40 coal production has increased despite the sell-off of coal assets by some... Many parts of the world -- eg China, India and South East Asia -- are expected to continue to use coal to meet primary energy needs. The above average economic growth in these countries suggests that the coal demand will continue in...

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