African coal supply prospects, IEACR/33

Author(s): Martin Daniel

Ref: IEACR/33
ISBN: 92-9029-185-0
Published Date: 01/02/1991
No. of Tables: 33
No. of Figures: 24
No. of Pages: 83


The report falls into two distinct but related sections. The first part updates earlier IEA Coal Research work on the prospects for coal from the Republic of South Africa up to the year 2000, with special reference to the availability and cost of steam coal exports. It is concluded that availability and cost represent no problem for the foreseeable future as the country continues to offer some of the most coal-competitive steam coal in the world. However, infrastructural constraints will restrict steam coal exports to a maximum of 65 Mt/y during this period; well below the 80Mt/y forecast until relatively recently. Moreover, in certain circumstances political and economic developments in the country could result in even lower export levels. The implications of the various potential levels of exports for international steam coal prices are considered in the report. The second part of the report considers African coal producing countries other than the Republic of South Africa. In most of these countries the coal industries are small and poorly developed in spite of the quality of their coal reserves. Developments in the 1980s were affected by the infrastructural constraints, the limited availability of capital, and the small potential market compounded in some cases by political instability. Prospects for the 1990s are little better, especially for those countries with aspirations to become coal exporters. The cost of developing most of the reserves cannot be justified at the international steam coal price levels likely to pertain during the decade. Nor is the domestic market likely to stimulate growth in spite of the crisis affecting woodfuel supply in the continent.

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