Coal Industry Market Research Reports, Analysis & Trends
Coal industry comprises companies that operate by mining, distributing and selling coal to customers of various industries that manufacture and produce various products for commercial purposes. One segment is the mining industry in which the firms in this industry mine black coal for either domestic use or they export. The mining process includes extraction, washing and distributing. The coal industry mines various types of coal and most coal mines consist of two types of black coal, known as bituminous and anthracite, but firms also mine lignite, which is a type of brown coal. Coal plays an extensively important role in power generation all over the world and it is one of the main power resources to generate electricity. According to current studies and understanding, the process is expected to remain the same for the next thirty years at least and the demand for cooking coal in iron and production and steam coal is expected to increase in the coming years.
The coal industry is highly concentrated with the four largest firms in the US coal mining industry accounting for approximately 41% of total industry's revenue. In the last five years, the industry concentration has increased substantially and to get the sense of how well it has increased, in 2008, for instance, the top four companies accounted for approximately 37% of total revenue. The coal mining industry is a tough industry as the operators have had to strive majorly to acquire metallurgical coal to meet surging export demand, that resulted in frequent M&As. Asia has built a strong demand, which sort of has underpinned growth in demand overall as with surges in infrastructure related investments in Asia, many economies in this region are searching for the means to create steel. As the demand increases many countries have been importing coal from other countries to satisfy their energy requirements therefore giving a massive boost to the overall coal industry.
Current Trends in Coal Market
The global coal mining industry basically produces two types of coal, and they are black and brown. Furthermore, black coal can be categorized into two more categories such as thermal and cooking coal. Basically, coal is categorized based on its contents of carbon, that is energy and moisture, which in turn determines its value. So, thermal coal is used to conversion to electricity as a source of energy, because thermal coal contains less carbon than cooking coal as it makes it unsuitable for steel making, so instead it has relatively high energy content to suit for electricity generation. Today, there is over 74% of global coal production in volume that consists of thermal coal alone, and coal is a widely used global commodity whose price fluctuates greatly and demand for both thermal and cooking coal has increased drastically during the last five years. Emerging market and economies have shown an incredible and rapid growth and in the next five years, the global economy is expected to normalize, steel production is expected to increase, and boost demand for cooking coal. Additionally, new technological improvements and developments that enable burning low-sulfur coal are expected to increase the demand for thermal coal in the western market while keeping coal's impact on the environment to the minimum level.
China and India are the major markets currently that are driven by the growth and the coal industry is set to overtake oil industry as globally major consumed fuel source by the end of 2017. Globally, Australia is the major coal producer and the biggest exporter of seaborne coal. Australian black coal mining industry is expected to generate revenue of approximately $60 billion by the end of 2013 with revenue growth of over 9.5% compared to the rate and growth revenue five years before. The biggest factor is the higher annual coal prices and growing production over the last five years and these factors have contributed to the profitability of the industry.
Major Coal Industry Players
Major players in the coal industry include Teck Resources Limited, UK Coal Plc, Anglo American Plc, Arch Coal, BHP Billiton, Coal India Limited, Macarthur Coal Limited, China Shenhua Energy Company Limited, ConocoPhillips, Patriot Coal Corporation, Peabody Energy Corporation, Rio Tinto, Sasol Limited, Alpha Natural Resources, TECO Energy, Xstrata Plc, Western Coal Corporation, Siberian Coal Energy Company, CONSOL Energy and Foundation Coal Corporation.