BHP Billiton outlines plan to up production while cutting costs
Anglo-Australian mining major BHP Billiton has said today that it aims to earn another US $600 million from coal operations by the end of next year as it seeks to maximise returns while slashing costs.
The world’s top exporter of coking coal used in steelmaking plans to boost its coal output eight percent by June 2018 while cutting costs by 16 percent over the course of the next year.
Despite a worldwide slump in coal prices, all of BHP’s operations are currently cash positive and the company has made US $3 billion in productivity gains since 2012.
“Against the backdrop of greater uncertainty in the outlook for thermal coal, we are confident that base demand in emerging economies will remain resilient for decades to come and our higher quality coals position us well in an increasingly carbon constrained world," said BHP's President of Mineral Australia operations, Mike Henry.
Henry predicts that the coal sector will be made more sustainable given the Chinese government’s plan to reduce some of its coal mining capacity. BHP also anticipates a 10 to 15 percent rise in demand in India and South-East Asia, where low-cost coal will be a sought-after source of energy.
The company expects to produce 42.5 million tonnes of metallurgical coal in the next year, upping production to 44 million tonnes in 2017 and 46 million tonnes in 2018.
In addition, BHP plans to cut costs at its Queensland coal business by nine percent to $52 a tonne in the next financial year. This contrasts with current coking coal prices which averaged more than $90 a tonne in the June quarter.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.