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Queensland coal exports set to break records

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World Coal,

Queensland’s coal exports are set to break last year’s record, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC). Shipments from the Australian state are currently running 3.5% ahead of last year’s numbers for the first nine months of the year.

“The September quarter results reaffirm the resources sector as a crucial pillar of the state’s economy and place coal exports in good stead to exceed 2014 levels,” the QRC said in a statement.

The QRC analysed port export data from the state’s four major coal ports with the date showing all ports ahead of last year’s figures. Abbot Point is leading the way – albeit from a lower starting point – with exports up 11% to 21 million t for the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2014.

Meanwhile, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal remained the largest exporter with 52.9 million t, followed by Gladstone Port with 52.7 million t and Hay Point Coal Terminal with 32.1 million t.

Commenting on the figures, QRC CEO Michael Roche said it was clear that coal continued to be positive for the Queensland economy. “Despite a slump in commodity prices, coal is still a huge contributor to the Queensland economy,” Roche said. “In 2014 – 15 coal contributed AUS$32 billion to the Queensland economy and accounted for 11% of all economic activity in the State.’

Roche was also keen to point out that demand for the state’s coal could be expected to continue as countries across southeast Asia continued to rely on coal to feed their energy-hungry economies: “Contrary to claims of activists who are constantly bleating about the end of coal, we anticipate strong and continuing demand from energy-hungry nations across southeast Asia,” he said.

The IEA recently said that it expected energy demand in southeast Asia to grow by 80% by 2040 with coal’s share of the energy mix in the region growing from 32% today to 50% - a trend that will be a boon for Australia’s coal producers. “The uptake of new high efficiency, low emission technology will see coal, particularly the high quality coal found in Australia, play a rapidly expanding role in the future fuel mix [in southeast Asia],” Roche concluded.

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