Let's face it, Fools. With or without a bailout, we're looking at some contraction among Western economies for a spell. With the Dow off nearly 300 points today, it's all too tempting to presume there's no growth to be found.
With the quiet swipe of a pen on paper, though, the world's largest coal miner is trying to cheer you up by whispering that growth in China will not be erased entirely. Peabody Energy
With an estimated resource of 3 billion metric tons of coal, pending confirmation, the project would represent a major growth spurt beyond the company's existing total reserve base of 9 billion tons. What's more, the move is a major step toward the company's stated objective of promoting global markets for BTU conversion.
Peabody sees the processing of coal into gas and liquid forms as a cornerstone of coal's future, with end-products that can include methanol and other chemical feedstocks for use in plastics, paints, construction materials, and fuel products. After spinning off several U.S. mines with the creation of Patriot Coal
What's inside China's door? Over the past two years alone, China has built coal-generated electricity plants equal to half of the entire capacity of U.S. coal-fired plants. Some 70% of China's electricity is produced from coal. While I agree that China's growth rate could slow substantially as a result of global financial turmoil, I don't think they'll be shutting the lights off.
I know it's hard to get excited about coal companies when Peabody and Yazhou Coal Mining
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Fool contributor Christopher Barker captains yachts and writes about stocks. He can also be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He owns shares of Peabody Energy, Massey Energy, and Teck Cominco. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.