RAG calls for coal u-turn

RAG hard coal group chief Werner Mueller has spoke out against German government policy saying the country should look at further exploring domestic coking coal reserves so it is not so heavily impacted by high world market prices.

Angie Tomlinson

Germany currently has in place a policy to wind up its coal industry over the next 10 years. German coal giant RAG has been part of this shut down announcing closures of two its mines by 2007, which will bring overall annual production from 26 million tonnes to 22Mt in three years.

"Prices of coke imports have exploded. Germany has 1 billion tonnes of good coking coal. This raises the question of prospective new coal pits and cokeries to make us independent of the ever tigher world market again," Mueller told Stern magazine.

Mueller put forward the rationale that based on current coking coal prices staying consistent over the next 15 years, a new pit plus cookery would be profitable in Germany without any state subsidies.

As part of his campaign, Mueller previously announced RAG and other steel companies would expand the Prosper cokery for a cost of 300 million euros, Reuters reported.