In the processes of coal mining, preparation and combustion, the rejects and by-products are generated. These are, among others, the rejects from the coal washing and dry deshaling processes as well as the coal combustion by-products (fly ash and slag). Current legal and industry regulations recommend determining the content of mercury in them. The regulations also define the acceptable content of mercury. The aim of the paper was to determine the mercury content in the rejects derived from the coal cleaning processes as well as in the combustion by-products in respect of their utilization. The mercury content in the representative samples of the rejects derived from the coal washing and dry deshaling processes as well as in the coal combustion by products derived from 8 coal-fired boilers was determined. The mercury content in the rejects from the coal washing process varied from 54 to 245 μg/kg, (the average of 98 μg/kg) and in the rejects from the dry deshaling process it varied from 76 to 310 μg/kg (the average of 148 μg/kg). The mercury content in the fly ash varied from 70 to 1420 μg/kg, (the average of 567 μg/kg) and in the slag it varied from 8 to 58 μg/kg (the average of 21 μg/kg). At the moment, in light of the regulations from the point of view of mercury content in the rejects from the coal preparation processes and in the coal combustion by-products, there are no significant barriers determining the way of their utilization. Nevertheless, in the future, regulations limiting the maximum content of mercury as well as the acceptable amount of leachable mercury may be introduced. Therefore, preparing for this situation by developing other alternative methods of using the rejects and by-products is recommended.
The article presents current state of the structure of hard coal enrichment plants in Poland, taking the capacity, the range of grain enrichment and the type of equipment used into account. This data were presented in a tabular format for each Polish Coal Company operating on the Polish market. The article was also present simplified: flow sheet of the steam and coking coal enrichment system. Based on the presented data, the planned needs and trends were described in terms of increasing production efficiency, minimizing water consumption and safety of work. A list of research and development works which must be undertaken were also presented as well as factors determining the technological development of the processing plants.
The article presents the possibility of using the Cobb-Douglas production function for planning in a turbulent environment. A case study was carried out – the Cobb-Douglas function was used to examine the condition of the Polish hard coal mining industry and the progress which has been made after undertaking certain activities aimed at increasing the competitiveness of coal companies over recent years. Only the correct and confirmed identification of the causes of irregularities in the production process can allow for the introduction of effective remedies. The effectiveness of the solutions proposed by the author has been confirmed thanks to the simulation during which the impact of the proposed production strategy on the parameters of the CD function was examined. Three variants of production functions models were created and production productivity rates and marginal substitution rates were determined. The results enabled the verification of the progress of restructuring as well as identification of the origin of the observed problems and comparison of the current state with the results of analyses carried out in previous years. Scenarios of possible trend developments for the factors introduced into the function model in order to present remedial measures that could improve the process of hard coal extraction were created. The scenarios were created using the ARIMA class models. Which scenario is the most favourable was determined. A computer program, created by the author, for optimising the level and use of labor resources at the level of the entire coal company has been presented.
The paper presents selected issues related to the development of international coal markets. World consumption of coal dropped for the second year in a row in 2016, primarily due to lower demand from China and the U S. The share of coal in global primary energy consumption decreased to 28%. World coal production accounted to 3.66 billion toe and it was lower by 6.2% when compared to the previous year. More than 60% of this decline took place in China. The decline in global production was more than four times higher than the decrease in consumption. The sufficiency of world resources of coal are estimated at 153 years – that is three times more than the sufficiency of oil and gas resources. After several years of decline, coal prices increased by 77% in 2016. The current spot prices are at the level of $80/t and are close to the 2014 prices. In the European market, after the first half of the year, coal prices reached the level of around 66% higher than in the same period of the last year. The average price in the first half amounted to PLN 12.6/GJ, which is close to the 2012 prices. The share of spot trade in the total purchase amount accounted to approx. 20%. Prices in futures contracts can be estimated on the basis of the Japan-Australia contracts prices and prices in supplies to power plants located in Germany. On average, the prices in supplies to these power plants were higher by approximately 9% in the years 2010–2016 and prices in Australia – Japan contracts were 12% higher than CIF ARA prices in 2017. Global energy coal trade reached about 1.012 billion tonnes in 2016. In 2019, a decline by 4.8% is expected primarily due to the expected reduction in the demand in major importing countries in Asia.
Coal production in 2018 increased by 3.3% and amounted to 7.81 million tons. Compared to 2010, it increased by 620 million tons. The structure of coal production in the world is very stable in the analyzed period of 2010–2018. Steam coal dominates in production with a share of 77%. Since 1990, the share of coal in the consumption of primary energy carriers has fallen by 3% in the global economy. In the EU, the share of coal in the consumption of primary energy carriers is more than twice lower than in the world, and in 2018 amounted to 13%. BP estimates the sufficiency of coal proven reserves based on 2018 data for the next 132 years. For oil and gas, they are estimated at 51 years. The decline in hard coal production in the European U nion can be dated almost continuously since 1990, which has decreased by 74%. In 2018, 74 million tons of coal were produced in the EU. In 2018, hard coal consumption in EU countries dropped to 226 million tons, i.e. by 20.6%. In 2018, global trade in steam coal amounted to 1.14 billion tons. The situation in China is crucial for the international coal market. The slight change in the import policy of this country significantly affects the situation in international trade in steam coal. In 2019, coal prices (at Newcastle, Richards Bay, ARA ports) dropped by an average of 23 U SD/ton. The average decreases for these three indices were 33%. The prices of steam coal in the forecasts presented in the paper are under pressure of the falling demand.
The paper presents selected issues related to the development of international coal markets. World consumption of coal dropped for the second year in a row in 2016, primarily due to the lower demand from China and the US. The share of coal in global primary energy consumption decreased to 28%. World coal production accounted to 3.66 billion toe and it was lower by 6.2% when compared to the previous year. More than 60% of this decline took place in China. The decline in global production was more than four times higher than the decrease in consumption. The sufficiency of the world resources of coal are estimated at 153 years – that is three times more than the sufficiency of oil and gas resources. After several years of decline, coal prices increased by 77% in 2016. The current spot prices are at the level of $80/ton and are close to the 2014 prices. In the European market, after the first half of the year, coal prices reached the level of around 66% higher than in the same period of the last year. The average price in the first half amounted to PLN 12.6/GJ, which is close to the 2012 prices. The share of spot trade in the total purchase amount accounted to approx. 20%. Prices in futures contracts can be estimated on the basis of the Japan-Australia contracts prices and prices in supplies to power plants located in Germany. On average, the prices in supplies to these power plants were higher by approximately 9% in the years 2010 – 2016 and prices in Australia – Japan contracts were 12% higher than CIF ARA prices in 2017. Global energy coal trade reached about 1.012 billion tons in 2016. A decline by 4.8% is expected in 2019 primarily due to the expected reduction in demand in major importing countries in Asia.
According to International Energy Agency (IEA) energy security is the continuous supply of energy at acceptable prices. National energy is based primarily on its own energy resources such as hard coal and brown coal. The 88% of electric energy production from these minerals gives us full energy independence. Additionally, the energy production costs from these raw materials are the lowest compared to other technologies. Of these two, the energy produced from brown coal is characterized by the lowest unit technical generating cost. Poland has the resources of these minerals for decades to come, the experience related to mining and processing them, scientific and design facilities and technical facilities and factories producing machines and equipment for their own needs, as well as for export. Coal is and should remain an important source of electricity and heat supply in Poland for the next 25–50 years. It is one of the most reliable and profitable energy sources. This policy may be difficult in the next decades due to the exhaustion of the available resources of hard and brown coal. The conditions for the construction of new mines, and thus for the development of coal mining in Poland, are very interdisciplinary in legal, environmental, economic and reputational terms. Germany has similar problems. Despite the fact that it is an image of a country investing in renewable energy sources, which are pioneers of energy production from RES, in reality hard and brown coal are still the primary sources utilized to produce electric energy.
The aim of the article is to present the selected results of analytical investigations concerning possible directions of reducing the unit production costs in the mining company together with some results of practical calculations. The investigations emphasize the role of the rate of utilising the production capacity leading to reducing the unit production costs. The main component having an essential influence on the unit production costs are the fixed unit costs. Two basic indices of a crucial meaning for searching for possibilities leading to decreasing the unit production costs are assumed. The first index (w1) is a measure of the rate of utilising the production capacity, the second one (w2) concerns the fixed costs coincided with the unit of the production capacity. Theoretical considerations concerning the mathematical modelling of the unit production costs as the values depending on the rate of utilising the production capacity and the fixed costs coincided with the production capacity unit, are presented in the first part of the paper. The rationalisation criteria of the mine unit production costs are formulated. These criteria can constitute the elements of restructuring program for the mining company. The calculation example with the use of the practical input data shows the impact of the rate of utilising the production capacity on the mine unit production costs. In the example two variants of annual working time are taken into account. Results of appropriate calculations are presented and analysed in an aspect of reducing unit costs of production as a result of increasing rate of utilising the mine production capacity.
The environment is the greatest good for the people. Everyone wants to breath air of the best possible quality, whether living in the city center of a metropolis or in a rural area. Air polluted with very fine particles contribute to the negative effect on people’s health and the whole environment. A significant part of air dust pollution comes from the so-called low emissions sources which include: non-standard furnaces, fireplaces, low-efficiency outdated boilers and local heat sources. Since the beginning of Polish Mining Group’s existence, the company actively participates and supports many activities, the aim of which is to improve the air quality by producing and supplying high quality coal for the residential sector. The company has undertaken pro-ecological activities towards creating a new, pro-ecological strategy as well as product offer. The production of an ecological coal assortment is systematically developing but new coal products are also being launched on the market. One of the company’s priorities is the production of thermal coal for the residential sector. Many organizational and technological changes have been made In that area (e.g. the establishmsnt of the Eco-Fuels Production Plant) to ensure a suitable level of production of the highest quality thermal coal.