Latest figures confirm strong demand for NSW thermal coal in 2017

March 12, 2018

14th March 2018

Latest figures confirm strong demand for NSW thermal coal in 2017

Latest data confirms 2017 was another positive year for NSW coal exports, with global demand for NSW thermal coal for electricity generation at near record levels for another year.


Data released by Coal Services Pty Ltd reveals that NSW thermal coal exports remained steady at over 140 million tonnes in 2017, only just below 2016 volumes and over 15 per cent higher than in 2012.  


Welcoming the positive economic news, NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said, “coal is our State’s most valuable export so it’s great for the NSW economy that demand for our thermal coal continues to be strong.”

The strong demand for NSW thermal coal within our traditional markets was led by China, increasing imports by almost 10% to 23.7 million tonnes.


In other key markets, exports of thermal coal to Japan rose by 2.4% to 64.3 million tonnes while exports to Korea rose by 0.6% to 20.1 million tonnes.  Demand for NSW energy coal increased across other emerging Asian markets, reflecting the deployment of more coal-fired power generation capacity across the region, including new low-emissions coal-fired power plants. NSW coal export volumes to the Philippines rose by 17% to 1.5 million tonnes and to Thailand by 7% to 3.2 million tonnes.


Japan continues to take the largest share of NSW thermal coal, accounting for 45% of NSW thermal coal exports in 2017, followed by China with 17% and Taiwan and Korea each making up 14%.  Coal continues to be NSW’s single most valuable export, contributing around 18% of all exports leaving the State by value.


In further positive signs for the NSW coal industry, the value of thermal coal exports also rose sharply over the last 18 months.  The average Free On Board (FOB) value of thermal coal per tonne rose from A$68.27 in June 2016 to A$114.82 by December 2017, the highest price since December 2011.

Total NSW coal exports, including coking coal used for steel production, was just over 163 million tonnes in 2017 , down from 170 million tonnes in the previous year.  This decline was largely due to a sharp decline in coking coal export volumes through Port Kembla.


“After a very tough few years, the ongoing strong demand for NSW thermal coal over 2017 is encouraging, as is the recovery in coal prices that has boosted activity and confidence across the NSW mining sector,” Mr Galilee said.


“Growth in exports to our second largest market, China, along with significant growth across emerging markets in Southeast Asia demonstrate the significant economic opportunities for NSW, provided we get the policy settings right here in NSW,” Mr Galilee said.


“The NSW Government has made progress in meeting its commitment to halve planning assessment timeframes for major mining projects. While there is still more be done, if we can lock in policies that support NSW mining, we’ll build on these positive export figures, attract investment and create more jobs in our State,” he said.

Contact: Harry Stutchbury | | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419

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