Coal imports

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Major coal importers

Countries with annual import higher than 30 million tons are shown below. Estimates are from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's International Energy Statistics.

Imports of Coal by Country and year (million short tons)[1]
Country 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Share
Japan 199.7 209.0 206.0 182.1 206.7 17.5%
China 42.0 56.2 44.5 138.9 195.1 14.5%
South Korea 84.1 94.1 107.1 109.9 125.8 10.6%
India 52.7 29.6 70.9 76.7 101.6 7.4%
Taiwan 69.1 72.5 70.9 64.6 71.1 6.2%
Germany 50.6 56.2 55.7 45.9 55.2 4.4%
United Kingdom 56.8 48.9 49.2 42.2 29.4 4.1%
Total (global) 991.8 1,056.5 1,063.2 1,039.8 1,178.2 100%
Note: 1 metric ton (tonne) = 1.10231 short tons

China and coal

According to Reuters, China's net coal imports could rise up to 200 million tons in 2011, as domestic output no longer meets demand.[2]

In 2012, Reuters reported that China overtook Japan as the world's largest importer of coal, importing 182.4 million tonnes in 2011, versus Japan's 175.2 million tonnes.[3]

India and coal

From April 2008 through March 2009, the country imported 59 million metric tons; from April 2009 through March 2010 imports rose 24 percent to 73.25 million tonnes. In February 2011, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal projected that 2010/2011 imports would jump 70 percent to 142 million tonnes.[4]

Japan and coal

According to the U.S. EIA: "[Japanese] domestic coal production came to an end in 2002 and Japan imported 182 million short tons [of coal] in 2009, for which Australia was the main supplier."[5]

South Korea and coal

According to the EIA, South Korea holds 149 million short tons (MMst) of recoverable coal reserves. Consumption reached 117 Millions of Short Tons (MMst) of coal in 2009, and mining was less than 3 MMst in that same year. As a result, South Korea was the second largest importer of coal in 2008, following only Japan, but has since been eclipsed by China. Australia and Indonesia account for the majority of South Korea’s coal imports. Coal consumption in South Korea increased by about a third between 2005 and 2009, driven primarily by growing demand from the electric power sector. The electric power sector accounts for more than half of coal consumption, while the industrial sector accounts for most of the remainder.[6]

United Kingdom and coal

UK coal imports were up 20 per cent to 18 million tons in 2012 — with coal responsible for generating 42 per cent of all UK electricity, according to its Department of Energy. Forty per cent of imported supplies are from Russia, although cheaper coal in Europe was also made possible partly by a 49 percent jump in first-quarter imports from the U.S., according to Energy Information Administration.[7]

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