Mexico and coal
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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports that Mexico "produced 11.9 Mt of coal in 2007, which was an increase of 9% compared with production in 2006. The international price of coal increased by 73% in 2007, which increased the value of coal production in Mexico by 15% to $459 million. Coke production, however, not including imported metallurgical coke, decreased by 2.1%." Of the coal produced, approximately 4.75 million tonnes was metallurgical coal and 7.1 million tonnes steam coal for use in power stations and other steam units.
In 2008, Mexico produced 9589 kt of sub-bituminous coal. The same year Mexico imported 2696 kt of sub-bituminous coal.
Mexico passes strong climate change legislation
On April 19 the Mexican legislature passed one of the strongest national climate-change laws in the world. Mexico joined the United Kingdom in having legally binding emissions goals aimed at stemming the effects of climate change. Mexico's new law contains many sweeping provisions to mitigate climate change, including a mandate to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 30% below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050.
The USGS reports that "the distribution of reserves among Mexico’s main coal concession holders was as follows:
- Minera Carbonifera Rio Econdido S.A de C.V. (Micare) (affiliated with Grupo Acerero del Norte S.A. de C.V.), 53%;
- Materiales Industrializados S.A. de C.V. (MINSA), 38%;
- Grupo Mexico, 5%; and
- Carbonifera de San Patricio S.A. de C.V., 4%.
The USGS lists the major coal mines in 2007 as being:
- Mimosa coal mine and the Palau coal mine in Coah which combined produced approximately 3 million tonnes. The coal from the mines is processed at the Muzquiz washing plant at Palau, Coah., and the coking plant at Monclova, Coah. The mines are operted by Minera Monclova, S.A. a wholly owned subidiary of Altos Hornos de México, S.A. de C.V AHMSA;
- the Progreso coal mine in Coah which produced approximately 1.3 million tonnes. The mine is owned by the privately owned company Carbonifera de San Patricio, S.A. de C.V.;
- Industrial Minera México, S.A. de C.V. (IMMSA)the Nueva Rosita coal mine in Coah which produced approximately 1.5 million tonnes. The mine is owned by Industrial Minera México, S.A. de C.V. IMMSA, a 90% owned subsidiary of Grupo Mexico; and
- The Mina I coal mine and the Mina II coal mine at at Nava and the Tajo I coal mine at Piedras have a combined output of 6.5 million tonnes. The mines are wholly owned subsidiaries of AHMSA.
Coal mining accidents
Mine blast kills 6 miners
A blast at an artisanal coal mine in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, trapped 14 miners on May 3, 2011.
"There are 14 miners trapped plus one person injured" in the wake of the 7:00 a.m. blast, Jesus Maria Montemayor Garza told Radio Formula. Authorities have yet to make contact with the trapped men and rescue efforts remain on hold because the levels of methane gas are still almost triple the range considered safe, according to Montemayor.
4 miners dead in cave-in at north Mexico coal mine
On August 26, 2011 four miners were killed in an explosion that caved in part of a coal mine in the northern Mexico border state of Coahuila. The Minerales de Monclova company, which operates the mine, stated the accident at its La Esmeralda Coal Mine was caused by methane gas that exploded. The company also states that 132 other workers escaped unharmed and the bodies of the dead miners were recovered..
13 coal miners dead after explosion in northern Mexico
In July 2012 six miners were killed in a Northern Mexico mine and another seven where killed in a mine explosion in the same area. The accident, officials said, highlighted the country's lax safety conditions in small mines that are often poorly regulated. The explosion that took the lives of seven miners occurred 246 feet underground.
32 Mexico coal mines shut down for safety violations
It was reported on August 10, 2012 that 32 small coal mines in the northern state of Coahuila were closed due to safety concerns. The action was prompted by a number of accidents in the preceding month in the region that took the lives of 13 miners.
Coal-fired power stations financed by international public investment institutions
Coal-fired power stations financed by international public investment institutions include:
- Petacalco power station, Mexico
In April 2012 it was announced that Union Pacific was considering exporting coal through Port of Guaymas in northwest Mexico. It was reported that Union Pacific was working with Mexican railroad Ferromex on possibly moving coal through the Port of Guaymas, about 240 miles from the US border.
Articles and resources
- Alberto Alexander Perez, "The Mineral Industry of Mexico", U.S. Geological Survey, August 2009.
- "Coal and Peat in Mexico in 2008" IEA Energy Statistics, accessed August 31, 2011.
- "Mexico passes climate-change law" Erik Vance, Nature.com, April 23, 2012.
- "14 Trapped in blast at Mexican coal mine" Fox News Latino, May 3, 2011.
- "5 Dead, 9 Still Missing in Mexico Coal Mine Explosion" Voice of America, May 4, 2011.
- "Rescue crews recover 6th body from Mexico mine" SeattlePI.com, May 5, 2011.
- "4 miners dead in cave-in at north Mexico coal mine" Associated Press, August 26, 2011
- "Seven coal miners dead after explosion in northern Mexico" Reuters, July 25, 2012.
- "6 Found Dead Inside Mexican Coal Mine" Fox News, August 4, 2012.
- "32 Mexico coal mines shuttered for safety reasons" Fox News, August 10, 2012.
- "Coal Fired Plants Financed by International Public Investment Institutions since 1994", Appendix A in Foreclosing the Future: Coal, Climate and International Public Finance: Investment in coal-fired power plants hinders the fight against global warming, Environmental Defense Fund, April 2009.
- "Union Pacific looks to Mexico as US coal demand falls: officials" Platts.com, April 19, 2012.