Survey of Energy Resources Interim Update 2009
SER 2007 version >Coal Country Notes update
The 2008 edition of Australia's Identified Mineral Resources, published by Geoscience Australia, specifies only moderately changed coal resources and reserves from the levels given in the 2006 edition. Although in-situ 'Economic Demonstrated Resources' of black coal are marginally higher at 56.4 billion tonnes as at end-2007, the recoverable portion is 0.3 lower, at 38.9 billion tonnes. In-situ and recoverable brown coal tonnages both show marginal reductions.
In the case of black coal, the latest assessments of recoverable tonnages in the lower-probability categories 'subeconomic' and 'inferred' resources show rather larger differentials, with the first category a net 2 billion tonnes lower and the second some 4.6 billion tonnes (or 8%) higher than at end-2005. 'Subeconomic' and 'inferred' resources of brown coal are unchanged.
The Comisión Nacional de Energía states that Chile's coal reserves are 155 million tonnes. Although there is no indication of the date of this assessment, it has been adopted for the purpose of the present interim update in preference to the figure of 1 181 million quoted in previous Surveys, which dates back to 1978. A number of Chile's coal mines have ceased operating in recent years.
The end-2007 level of proved reserves has been projected from an assessment for end-2003 'measured reserves' produced by the Colombian geological service Ingeominas in 2004 and quoted in Mercado Nacional e Internacional de Carbón Colombiano, published by the Unidad de Planeación Minero Energética (UPME) of the Ministerio de Minas y Energía.
The published figure of 7 063.6 million tonnes has been reduced by the cumulative tonnage of coal produced in Colombia during the years 2004-2007, on the assumption that there were no significant additions to measured reserves during this period. The split of reserves by rank has also been estimated, assuming that the only significant sub-bituminous deposits are in the Alto San Jorge area, where the measured reserves were 381 million tonnes at end-2003 and annual output is approximately 350 000 tonnes.
Coal reserves have been updated from the 2007-08 edition of the Indian Ministry of Coal's Annual Report. This quotes total proved geological resources of hard coal as 99 060 million tonnes (as at 1 April 2007), an increase of 3 194 million tonnes or 3.3% over the level for 1 January 2006 quoted in the 2005-06 Annual Report. The estimated proved recoverable reserves given in the present interim review are based on the level of 52 240 million tonnes reported by the WEC Member Committee for the 2007 Survey, increased in line with geological resources. Proved recoverable reserves of lignite have been updated in a similar fashion.
The net change in India's total proved recoverable reserves of all ranks of coal is some 2.1 billion tonnes, representing a 3.7% increase during the 15-month period.
Assessments of South Africa's coal resources remain in a state of flux. While a number of surveys (e.g. de Jager, 1983; Bredell, 1987; and later studies by the Minerals Bureau) have attempted to quantify the reserves present in each of South Africa's many coalfields, there is not yet total consensus in respect of the tonnages that are currently economically and technologically recoverable.
For the purpose of the present interim update of the Survey of Energy Resources, a figure of 30 408 million tonnes has been adopted, based on advice from an expert South African source. This level is based upon the de Jager report, with the individual coalfield reserves adjusted by subtracting cumulative coal production over the period 1982-2007, and then a view being taken of the mineability of coal in major prospective producing areas, in particular the Waterberg coalfield, but also the Springbok Flats, Limpopo and parts of the Free State coalfields. The net outcome is a total for South Africa's proved recoverable coal reserves that is more than one-third lower than the level reported for the 2007 Survey, but that is arguably more realistic in the present circumstances.
United States of America
The prime source of U.S. coal reserves is the Annual Coal Report issued by the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy. The 2007 edition of this document provides detailed information on the size and location of coal resources and reserves, analysed by state and by mining method, but not by rank. By courtesy of the EIA, supplementary information has been provided which enables separate reserves for anthracite/bituminous coal, sub-bituminous coal and lignite to be included in the present interim review.
Total recoverable reserves amount to 238.3 billion tonnes, some 4.4 billion, or 1.8%, lower than the level reported by the U.S. WEC Member Committee for the 2007 Survey, which was also derived from EIA data. It should be borne in mind that the EIA's recoverable coal reserves are measured and indicated (proved and probable), in a commingled database, and that separate proved and probable categories are not available.