GOLDMAN Sachs has forecast the end of thermal coal’s reign at the top of the energy ladder, citing tax, production costs and environmental regulations as the reason.
News Ltd reports the broking house said the prospect of weaker demand growth would see seaborne trade in thermal coal peak in 2020.
The news will be a blow to the huge coal projects in Queensland, including the $6 billion Wandoan project, owned by Glencore-Xstrata, and the mega mines in the Galilee Basin owned by Indian companies GVK and Adani, as well as Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal.
Goldman Sachs said companies were already moving their capital away from energy coal, and cited talks it held with equipment manufacturer Alstom to suggest the downside risk of future regulation could offset any cost advantage coal had to alternative sources.
Despite the poor outlook, Goldman Sachs is not suggesting the end of coal and pointed to the demand for the commodity in China and India.
But it said the energy sources with the most upside were gas and solar power.
Read more: Anglo American under fire for planned gold-copper mine in Alaska
The polemic Pebble Mine project in Alaska, a 50-50 partnership between Anglo American (LON: AAL) and Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX: NDM) is one again the centre of attention, as BBC World News aired Monday an in-depth report on the proposed open-pit copper and gold mine.
The video comes barely a week after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)admitted to have spent $2.4 million in reviewing the proposed project in southwest Alaska.
The deposit, which could be worth as much as half a trillion dollars, hosts 55 billion pounds of copper, 76 million ounces of gold, 3.3 billion pounds of molybdenum, and quantities of silver, palladium and rhenium.
RELATED: INFOGRAPHIC: Pebble Project economics and employment
If approved, it would become the largest open pit copper and gold mine in the world, but it would also generate tons of potentially dangerous waste material, which would damage the area’s salmon population, one of the world’s most valuable habitats for the fish.