Australian Coal Mines are causing huge pain for climate change advocates as the world’s top exporter of metallurgical coal used in steelmaking in Bowen Basin Australia, continues to produce more methane emissions than global competitors, according to new analysis.
For every ton of coal produced in the Bowen Basin region in Queensland state, an average of 7.5 kilograms of the potent greenhouse gas is released, said Kayrros SAS, a geoanalytics firm that studied satellite observations from the European Space Agency. That’s 47% higher than the average global methane intensity estimated by the International Energy Agency, according to the company.
Using raw materials with a higher methane intensity increases the challenge for end users, including steelmakers, who are facing increasing pressure from governments and investors to curb pollution and develop production methods that use alternatives to coal.
Australia, which accounts for about half of the world’s metallurgical coal exports, is forecast to increase shipments through 2023 and this month a government fund approved a A$175m ($132m) loan for the development of a new mine in the Bowen Basin.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports on a “huge methane leak” that has been spotted by satellite “in China’s biggest coal production region”. It says: “The release in northeast Shanxi province is one of the largest that geoanalytics company Kayrros SAS has so far attributed to the global coal sector and likely emanated from multiple mining operations…The area has 34 coals mines, according to the Shanxi Energy Bureau.”
Higher methane emissions are the result of the region’s geology, Kayrros said in a report released Monday. Older and deeper coal seams typically contain more of the gas.