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Commodities

In ironic twist, drive for clean energy creates Asian coal boom

Public outcry over dirty fuel overshadowed by power needs of growing economies

JAKARTA -- Coal, one of the world's most polarizing commodities, has now become an Asian irony. Efforts to curb use of the so-called black diamond in the West have been a boon for coal companies in the East, more so now that the benchmark price for thermal coal exceeded $120 per ton in July, the highest since 2012.

No one was surprised in March when Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam, one of Indonesia's largest coal producer, posted a 123% year-on-year jump in net profit to 4.4 trillion rupiah( $325 million)  for the period ended December. That was because only a week prior to the results, Adaro Energy, the country’s second-largest coal miner, posted a 45% surge in net profits to $483 million.

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