China may be forced to lift Australia coal ban as power crisis worsens

  • Sep 28, 2021
  • Brisbane Times

China’s power crisis looks set to spur it to import more coal from a wider range of producers, putting it into competition with European and Indian buyers that are also snapping up more of the dirtiest fossil fuel.

More than two-thirds of China’s electricity comes from coal-fired plants and, while more than 90 per cent of the fuel it uses is mined locally, it’s difficult to raise local output at short notice. Looking offshore is the easier option, but that’s been complicated somewhat by Beijing’s decision to ban imports from Australia - the world’s second-biggest exporter - late last year.

China is likely to increase purchases of coal from other countries after banning Australian coal last year.Credit:AP

It isn’t easy to ramp up local coal supply, given the low investment in new mines in recent years, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michelle Leung said in a note. Over-mining is also strongly prohibited amid safety concerns, she said.

Instead, China is likely to try and increase purchases from traditional sources. Jilin province will seek more coal from Indonesia, Russia and Mongolia to ensure power supply and heating, Governor Han Jun said in a statement.