On the Blogs: The Coal Industry’s Fragile New Optimism FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clyde Russell for Reuters:For the first time since 2012 there was a mood of optimism at the annual Coaltrans Asia meeting. What remains to be seen is whether this new-found view that the worst is past has any basis in reality, or whether it’s just a different type of delusion for the beleaguered coal industry.Much of the optimism is based on the fact that the benchmark Asian coal price, the Newcastle weekly index, has risen almost 3.9 percent so far this year, ending last week at $52.59 a tonne.If that sounds like a modest increase, it has to be seen in the context of a commodity that has fallen for the past five years, and is still 61 percent below its post-recession peak in January 2011 of $136.30 a tonne. Not to mention that it’s also worth little more than a quarter of its all-time high of $194.79 reached in the giddy boom prior to the 2008 global recession.The main reason for the collapse in prices was the switch from an under-supplied sea-borne market to one that was massively over-supplied as more production was brought on to meet what had been widely assumed to be China’s insatiable appetite for coal. While the supply-demand balance is (slowly) being restored, there is very little fundamental justification for prices to rise much further than current levels.Full item: Coal industry shouldn’t get carried away with new-found optimism
Despite the painful loss to rivals, Kotoko, in Sunday’s NC Special Tier 1 Competition semi-finals, Hearts of Oak head coach, Kim Grant, still has a lot of respect and admiration for his players.The Phobians needed to a 94th minute penalty from Christopher Bonney to bring them back into the game after conceding in the 5th minute of the first half.Unfortunately, they failed to match Kotoko’s precision in the shootout and lost 5-4.However, despite failing to make the finals, Grant said after the match that he was very pleased with the efforts the players had given on the day and all through the tournament.“What I would like to say is that I am so proud of the boys because they kept on going and going. In the second half, we controlled the game and I tried to make the changes to get the momentum going and Kotoko on the back foot.We had one penalty disallowed and we got a second one later. I was looking for that never-say-die attitude and the boys showed it.If these boys stay together and keep working hard, they will go places. Unfortunately, it was our second semi-final loss but it is a work in progress. In that short space of time that I have been here, I am proud of what they have done. I hope that they learn from this and we will come back stronger next year.”Hearts fell out of the NC Special Tier 2 competition via the same penalty shootout. They lost 4-2 to UniStar Academy but Grant refused to draw conclusions on whether the incidents were the beginning of a pattern.“I am not bothered by the losses we have had in shootouts. When it gets to penalties, it is a matter of fine margins and luck. They took theirs and scored and we missed ours. It is that simple. I feel bad for the players but they have worked hard to get here and I am proud of them.”With Hearts out of the two competitions organised by the Normalisation Committee, it is unclear what the team will do next in terms of keeping their players active ahead of the resumption of normal football in Ghana.The likeliest option for the club is to organise friendly matches with teams in and outside Ghana.
…to address problem with private sectorAs contractors continue to rake in contracts in abundance, considered significantly beyond their resource capacity, national projects continue to move at a snail’s pace or be stalled.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson at a recent news conference said this is a grave situation that requires urgent attention if the country is to move forward smoothly infrastructure wise.In fact, he plans to meet with the private sector to conduct extensive discussions on this matter with the hopes of arriving at an amicable solution which will be beneficial to both parties.“There are contractors and individuals complaining about the award of contracts, several contracts awarded since June, the contractors received mobilisation but no physical presence is there on site…in contacting them, they (the contractors) would say they have challenges, that they have more than one contract and they have limited resources…yet they continue to bid,” Patterson explained, noting that these circumstances have been in existence for decades and could be the reason the infrastructural works in the country developed a reputation for progressing slowly.Patterson noted however that finding a solution will definitely be challenging since it is in the contractor’s best interest to pursue as many contracts as possible and since there is no law that limits how many one entity can bid for: “We have to address this problem and I intend to meet the private sector.”When prompted, Patterson explained that the ministry cannot cancel the contract if the contractors still have a period in which they can complete the project.“When I call the contractors and engineers in, they said we will finish, we still have a month-and-a-half. Obviously you can’t terminate until a contractual issue has been breached,” he stated.Patterson just recently announced that the ministry has been facing major setbacks which have resulted in delays in the implementation of several projects.He reported that there are several foreign funded projects, that to date have not been moving as fast as the ministry had anticipated.These include the PUP, under the European Union/Inter-American Development Bank (EU/IDB), which was budgeted for some $2 billion.The second largest project is the East Bank Berbice road where some $1.4 billion is budgeted.According to the minister, tenders are out for the project; however, the ministry is awaiting the ‘no-objection’ from the relevant bodies. The continuation of the East Coast highway, funded by the China Exim bank, is also undergoing some major setbacks.He said too that he was unable to give a timeline as to when the project will commence and the amount that will be expended.The fourth largest project is the West Bank Demerara highway, a US$2 million project that is currently 40 per cent completed.Another major reason for the setback of these projects is the inadequacy of engineers under the employ of the Public Infrastructure Ministry.Patterson informed there is a major difficulty in hiring qualified engineers. He noted that even graduate engineers seem uninterested in working with the ministry owing to the inadequate remuneration package.Particularly, the minister noted that the difficulty lies in getting engineers to work in the hinterland.He lamented that engineers are unwilling to work in those areas despite the fact that housing, transportation and other expenses are provided by the State.
NEW YORK — Starlin Castro and the Chicago Cubs aren’t scoring much lately. No need to against the New York Mets.Castro legged out a run-scoring infield single in the 11th inning, and the Cubs blanked the punchless Mets 2-0 June 30 for their second consecutive shutout at Citi Field.“We’re a little bit challenged offensively right now,” Chicago Manager Joe Maddon said. “A lot of times teams will sink because of that. We have not and I really appreciate that a lot.”Jon Lester threw seven sharp innings and the Cubs overcame a major base-running blunder to score twice in the 11th. Miguel Montero added an RBI single as Chicago won its eighth straight against the Mets, including the first six meetings this season.“Obviously we left some guys on base, but in the end we ended up getting the hits and that’s why it’s a good win. Our pitching’s been fantastic,” Cubs outfielder Mike Baxter said.The staggering Mets botched a suicide squeeze in the eighth and a double-play ball in the 11th during their latest flop at the plate.New York was held under two runs for the 20th time this season, tied for most in the majors.“It’s tough. Essentially it’s centered around me,” said No. 3 hitter Lucas Duda, who went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. “I’m not doing my job, not getting the job done, not driving runs in, not moving runners over.”Dexter Fowler drew a leadoff walk from Carlos Torres (2-4) in the 11th. Four batters later, Anthony Rizzo scored as Castro beat out a slow bouncer to third baseman Daniel Murphy.Montero made it 2-0 with a single off Sean Gilmartin — all that prevented the Mets from losing 1-0 in consecutive home games for the second time since early May.Jason Motte (6-1) fanned two in a hitless inning and Justin Grimm threw a called third strike past Kevin Plawecki with runners at the corners for his first major league save, bringing a final round of boos from the crowd of 23,906.“I just love when your team wins an extra-inning game on the road,” Maddon said after his club improved to 9-4 in extra innings overall.Lester and Bartolo Colon took advantage of the feeble lineups they were facing. Colon allowed only three hits in seven innings and retired 14 straight following a leadoff double in the third.With his own team slumping at the plate, the colorful Maddon brought in an illusionist from Las Vegas to entertain his team before the June 30 game.Chicago won 1-0 to stop a five-game slide, and counterpart Terry Collins was asked about Maddon’s magic touch.“I brought in a witch doctor to clean out the clubhouse, get all the bad spirits out of there,” Collins said, drawing laughs. “We need to send a magician down to St. Lucie where all the rehab guys are.”Aside from mixing potions, Collins tried almost any trick he could think up in a desperate attempt to help the Mets push across a run.He let Colon swing away with a runner on second and none out, then called for a suicide squeeze in the eighth with two men in scoring position.Pinch-hitter Darrell Ceciliani bunted through an outside pitch, and Ruben Tejada was hung out to dry. “You have to start thinking outside the box, because inside the box isn’t working,” Collins said.New York nearly had two runners tagged out on the play, but umpires kept Murphy at third base following a long huddle and discussion with Maddon.“I think they saw it properly,” Maddon said. “There was nothing for me to argue about. I was just, like, messing with them a little bit.”Ceciliani struck out against Pedro Strop to end the inning.(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares