Global Energy Monitor

Architecture

Global Energy Monitor’s Global Coal Mine Tracker uses a two-level system for organizing information, consisting of both a database and wiki pages with further information. The database tracks individual coal mines and includes information such as operator and ownership structure, mine status, mine and coal type, workforce size, and location. A wiki page created for each coal mine in GEM.wiki contains more detailed, footnoted information such as mine history, labor activity, and public opposition. The database and wiki pages are updated bi-annually, in January and July.

Research Process

Preliminary lists of coal mines in each country were gathered from public and private data sources including Global Energy Observatory, European Association for Coal and Lignite (EURACOAL), Global Methane Initiative Country Profiles, Mining Data Online, as well as various company and government sources. The data was then vetted against additional sources of information, listed below. 

Coal mine data is validated and updated through five main sources:

  • Government data on individual coal mines (such as China’s National Energy Administration, Australian Mine Atlas, and the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Mine Retrieval System); country energy and resource plans; and government websites tracking coal mine permits and applications, including Canada’s Impact Assessment Agency and Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist “Resource and Energy Major Projects List.”
  • Reports by state-owned and private mining companies;
  • News and media reports;
  • Local non-governmental organizations tracking mining permits and mine operations; 
  • On the ground contacts who can provide first-hand information about a project or mine. 

Where possible, coal mine data is circulated for review to researchers familiar with local conditions and languages.

Wiki Pages

For each coal mine and proposal, a wiki page is created on Global Energy Monitor’s GEM.wiki. Wiki pages provide a repository for in-depth information including project background, financing, environmental impacts, coal types and sources, public opposition, aerial photographs, videos, links to permits, coordinates, and maps. Under standard wiki convention, all information is linked to a published reference, such as a news article, company or government report, or a regulatory permit. In order to ensure data integrity in the open-access wiki environment, Global Energy Monitor researchers review all edits of project wiki pages by unknown editors, an infrequent occurrence.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

For each coal mine, the tracker calculates carbon dioxide emissions based on the following information:

  • Production (million tonnes); 
  • Coal type conversion factor (TJ/kt);
  • Effective CO2 emissions factor (kg CO2/TJ);
  • Exclusion factor.

Further details including parameters and sources can be found at Estimating Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal Mines on GEM.wiki.

Methane Emissions

For each coal mine, the tracker calculates coal mine methane emissions based on the following information:

  • Production (tonnes); 
  • Gas content at given mining depth (m3/tonnes);
  • Emissions factor coefficient

Further details including parameters and sources can be found at Estimating Methane Emissions from Coal Mines on GEM.wiki.

Mapping

To allow easy public access to the results, Global Energy Monitor worked with GreenInfo Network to develop a map-based and table-based interface using the Leaflet Open-Source JavaScript library. In the case of exact coordinates, locations have been visually determined using Google Maps, Google Earth, Planet Labs, or Wikimapia. For proposed projects, exact locations, if available, are from permit applications or other company documentation. If the location of a plant or proposal is not known, GEM identifies the most approximate location.