All the coal we handle for export through Neptune Terminals is steelmaking coal from Canadian mines located in B.C. and Alberta.
Coal is a naturally occurring rock, formed over millions of years as plants and other organic materials are buried and subjected to geological forces. Heat and pressure cause physical and chemical changes that result in carbon-rich coal.
Steelmaking coal, also referred to as metallurgical or coking coal, is, as its name suggests, an essential ingredient in the production of steel. Unlike its thermal counterpart, which is used for power generation, metallurgical coal is transformed into coke, the carbon source used to produce metals that we rely on every day.
What markets does Neptune ship steelmaking coal to?
Steelmaking coal loaded at Neptune is destined for steel mills around the world in countries including Korea, Japan, China, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. Canada is one of the world’s leading overseas exporters of steelmaking coal, second only to Australia.
How is steel made?
To make steel, steelmaking coal is first brought to a high temperature in an oxygen-less oven that drives off its impurities and produces coke, a pure form of carbon. The coke is then combined with iron ore and other ingredients in a blast furnace to produce steel. Click here to see a graphic explaining the process in more detail.
What is steel used for?
Steel – and the coal used in the production of steel – is used to make many of the things we rely on each day including cell phones, bicycles and kitchen appliances. Steel also plays a critical role in green energy production: wind turbines, solar panels, tidal power systems and bio-energy infrastructure all require steel. For example, 100 tonnes of steelmaking coal is required to produce the 185 tonnes of steel used in a typical wind turbine.
Is steel recyclable?
Yes, steel is also one of the most recycled materials.
Does Neptune handle any thermal coal or any US coal?
No, all the coal at Neptune is Canadian steelmaking coal.
What does Neptune do to ensure coal dust doesn’t end up in the community?
Our priority is ensuring the materials we handle stay on our terminal, and do not cause any nuisance in our surrounding community. The best way to treat coal in order to prevent dust is with water, and we use a number of systems to do that including spray poles, yard sprays, water cannons and wheel washes. For more information about dust prevention and air quality monitoring, visit our environment page or our environmental systems for products page.
How is coal moved around the site?
Coal trains are moved through the dumper building - where they are unloaded - using an electric indexer that helps us reduce carbon emissions associated with diesel locomotives. Once unloaded from the trains, the coal is loaded onto the stockpile or directly onto conveyor belts for shiploading using two large machines called stacker reclaimers. Neptune’s newest stacker reclaimer, installed in 2013, was built on Vancouver Island. Our original stacker reclaimer, which is more than 50 years old, will soon be replaced by another one manufactured on Vancouver Island.