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US coal miners racing to supply Asian demand

World Coal,

Coal miners across North America are fighting for purchase at export terminals along the continent’s West Coast. Ports and terminals are experiencing a backlog as North American suppliers try to reach the hungry Asian coal market.

In particular, coal from Wyoming and Montana, which has historically been landlocked into domestic markets, is now worth the expense of exportation to industrialising nations as prices rise.

The demand for US coal has rocketed as supplies from Australia – the world’s second largest exporter of coal after Indonesia – have been disrupted by widespread flooding across Queensland, the country’s main coal-producing state. The cold winter in Europe has also increased the demand for US coal.

Peabody Energy Corp., the largest coal producer in the US, is currently seeking a new West Coast facility to enable it to export between 20 – 30 million tpa of coal. Arch Coal Inc. has bought a 38% stake in a commodities exporting terminal on the Columbia river in the state of Washington. The terminal is capable of shipping around 5 million tpa. Cloud Peak Energy, who produce coal from the Powder river basin area of Wyoming and Montana are also searching for new exporting opportunities. The port the company uses in Vancouver, Canada, is at full capacity. According to Karla Kimrey, vice president of investor relations for Cloud Peak, the company is investigating every avenue. “There’s huge supply and huge demand, and no way to get it there,” she said.

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