Coal sales fro, South Africa to Europe rose eight-fold during the first six months of 2022 compared with last year as demand for the fossil fuel surged ahead of a ban on Russian coal according to Thungela Resources, a South Africa-based thermal coal exporter.
The European Union banned Russian coal imports in response to the invasion of Ukraine in April but it was not until 10 August that the ban fully took effect as part of the wide ranging sanctions.
European countries, which previously imported 45% of their coal from Russia and have been switching away from expensive natural gas to coal, ahead of the ban, started to source the fossil fuel from other countries. That has included Colombia, Australia and the United States and also South Africa.
Thungela, a leading South African coal exporter said Europe was competing with Asia for South African coal.
The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Denmark, France, Italy and Ukraine are among European countries were importing growing quantities of coal from South Africa.
In the first five months of this year, European countries imported more than 3 million tonnes of coal from South Africa. This is over 40% more than the total volume in 2021.
The figures from.South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) showed it delivered 3,240,752 tonnes of coal to European countries by end-May this year, 15% of RBCT’s overall exports, up from 2,321,190 (4%) in 2021.