Peabody stresses strong role of coal

PEABODY Energy CEO Greg Boyce recently spoke of his views on the US government’s carbon front, cutting mining costs and the prospect of exporting US coal to Asian markets.
Peabody stresses strong role of coal Peabody stresses strong role of coal Peabody stresses strong role of coal Peabody stresses strong role of coal Peabody stresses strong role of coal

Gregory Boyce

Blair Price

While the Obama Administration has targeted the coal industry through various reforms, Boyce had a simple tactic to help improve the US image of coal.

“Explain to everyone how much electricity today depends on coal,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

"I mentioned to folks here in the US that we still get 42% of our electricity on coal. And they say, ‘Wait a minute. I thought we stopped using coal’."

The CEO was not convinced people in the US wanted to pay more for cleaner energy either.

“We have 115 million US citizens that qualify for some kind of low-income energy assistance,” Boyce told the newspaper.

“We already have a third of the population that can't afford their utility bills. If there are people who want to use boutique and high-priced energy and can afford it, that's great. But many people can't even afford what we already have.”

He said it was too early to gauge the impacts of new Environmental Protection Authority rules to slash carbon emissions from power plants.

“All I know is just about everybody doesn't like them. Many states have already passed some kind of resolution or law saying, ‘Hey these aren't going to work for us.’ About 80% of US businesses are saying this doesn't make sense. The devastation in terms of electricity rates will not be tolerable.”

On Australia, Boyce was pleased with the outcomes of moving to the owner-operator model for its mines.

“We converted from contractors to running things ourselves. We said this operation deserves a 400 tonne truck rather than a 200 tonne truck. We have our own employees on the truck and larger-loading equipment, so what used to take 20 trucks now only takes 10.”

He said he believed it was inevitable that US coal would be exported to Asia, despite the tyranny of distance.

“I do see exports, either from the Illinois basin or [Wyoming's] Powder River Basin to Europe and Asia. If the Pacific market grows the way we think it's going to go, it's going to pull coal out of the Atlantic market.”

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