For the second leap of the coal industryThe coal industry, known as an outdated energy, is now starting a challenge for its new future. Coal, which was the main driving force of the industrial revolution of the modern era, has played a crucial role in Korea’s economic growth. As the people’s living standard improved drastically since the 1980s, their energy consumption pattern has changed and the government’s changed policy in the coal industry gave the impression that the industry is declining. That, however, is a misunderstanding, and coal still comprises 40 percent of Korea’s annual power generation.
Not only in Korea, but also in other major countries, securing stable supply of high-quality coal is the basis of national energy policy planning. In its report, the International Energy Agency forecasted that coal consumption will grow by 65 percent from now until 2035.
Coal has many values. In a developing economy, it is a crucial power for its growth. In major advanced economies, coal is a key issue of energy security. The coal industry is now facing a second golden era around the world.
Korea must not miss this trend. Korea has long beenan importer of coal and it needs to form alliances with major exporters for stable supply and export relevant technologies to create a new opportunity.
First, Korea needs to have continuous exchanges and cooperation with major coal producers such as Indonesia, Mongolia, Vietnam and Malaysia as well as the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States to share Korea’s advanced technologies in coal industry.
The Mine Reclamation Corporation has invited more than 150 professionals from those countries since 2013 and provided education programs. It also hosted seminars abroad in cooperation with government officials and engineers. Such exchanges will be a valuable asset for the future of our coal industry through building a global coal network.
Korea imports 97 percent of its energy, but it has become a powerful player in the energy industry. Korea used to be one of the poorest countries but now became the world 10th largest economy. These are the outcomes of creativity.
As Korea is now one of the largest petroleum exporters, expectations are high for the second leap of the coal industry.
by Kim Ik-hwan, CEO of the Mine Reclamation Corporation