Coal: The Next Great Commodity Story

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"Indonesia and Mozambique. . .regions to watch."

I want to focus on a 'dirty' little commodity that never gets as much attention as oil, but could be the source of many a fortune-building investment in the years ahead. I'm talking about coal.

Following are four interesting things you need to know about coal:
  • Coal generates 41% of the world's electricity.
  • Coal is also essential for the production of iron and steel.
  • Imports of thermal coal—used primarily for power stations—will rise by 47% in the next decade, according to consultants at McCloskey
  • Meanwhile, McCloskey says world demand for coking coal—used in foundries—will increase by some 53%.
Where's all this increased demand for coal coming from? The usual suspects: China, India and Brazil. For sure, China has coal reserves of its own. It also has the large Mongolian coalfields on its doorstep. But crucially, India and Brazil do not. These two economic powerhouses are going to need huge supplies of imported coal to fuel their rapid growth.

At present, the main supplier is Australia, notably from the Bowen Basin coal field in Queensland. But two other countries have plenty of coal reserves—Indonesia and Mozambique.

Coming up next month is the Mozambique Coal and Energy Conference in Maputo. "Mozambique's coalfields are the hot topic right now within the international coal community," reads the advance publicity, "with a number of leading experts suggesting that Mozambique will become the new Bowen Basin."

Billions of dollars are said to be available to back projects in this area. This may sound like hype, but it's probably true. This is a region to watch.

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