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Australian coal exports to continue to grow

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World Coal,

Hard coal is projected to remain Australia’s dominant energy export through to 2049/50, according to a new report from the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE), growing by 54% to around 650 million t.

Australia currently accounts for 27% of world hard coal exports – 51% of metallurgical coal exports and 18% of thermal coal exports. Continued growth in coal production and trade will be supported by the commissioning of new mines, rail networks and ports in Queensland and New South Wales and increased output at existing mines seeking to reduce unit costs, said the report.

Current expansion projects include Cockatoo Coal’s Baralaba North expansion, completed this May with output expected to reach 1 million t by the end of the. The mine will ramp up to production of 3.5 million tpa by 2016 to coincide with the commissioning of the Wiggins Island Terminal, which will provide an additional 27 million tpa of export capacity from the Port of Gladstone in Queensland.

Infrastructure upgrades also include projects at the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group terminal and the Kooragang Island Coal Terminal.

The projected annual growth rate of 1.2% in Australian coal exports is “built on expectations that global demand for coal will continue to increase, as a result of increased demand for electricity and steel-making raw materials, particularly in emerging market economics in Asia,” said the report, noting that China’s coal imports are expected to continue to register robust growth in the 12 months to June 2015, despite he new import restrictions imposed this year.

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