NSW coal exports on the rise as latest figures confirm strong demand for our coal

December 18, 2019


NSW coal exports are on track to reach record levels in 2019 with the latest data showing strong demand and an increase in export volumes compared to last year. 


Data released by Coal Services Pty Ltd reveals that to August 2019 NSW exported over 114 million tonnes of coal to countries around the world - a 4% increase compared to the same time last year and over 18% higher than in 2013.  

Exports of thermal coal - used for generating electricity - were up by over 2.3 million tonnes, an increase of 2.4% on the previous year and 12.3% higher than in 2013.

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 high quality resources remains strong.  As well as using our coking coal for steel production, many countries in our region are locking in reliable and affordable energy by using our high quality thermal coal in their coal-fired power plants to deliver lower emissions electricity compared to use of coal from elsewhere.”

Coal exports to China are up to 23 million tonnes so far in 2019, an increase of 3 million tonnes compared to the same time last year. Coal exports to Taiwan are also up, increasing by 1.6 million tonnes from 14.4 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes to August 2019.   

Demand for NSW energy coal increased across emerging Asian markets, reflecting the deployment of more coal-fired power generation capacity across the region, including new High Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) power plants. NSW coal export volumes to Vietnam almost tripled, increasing from 825,000 tonnes in August 2018 to 3.2 million tonnes in August 2019. 

Coal exports to Japan, Korea and Taiwan were steady or fell slightly.  Japan continues to take the largest share of NSW thermal coal, accounting for 40% of NSW thermal coal exports to August 2019, followed by China with 18%, Taiwan with 11% and Korea with 9%.  

The Increase in NSW coal export volumes supports the latest research on global coal markers released this week by the independent International Energy Agency (IEA). The report forecasts further increased demand for Australian coal from India and Southeast Asia due to the high quality of our coal compared to other sources, and for overall coal production in Australia to grow by 1.4% from 404 million tonnes in 2018 to 444 million tonnes in 2024 to meet this growing demand.

This is consistent with previous IEA research citing strong growth in demand for coal in the SE Asia region to 2040, and related opportunities for increased Australian coal exports to provide our high quality low emissions coal to meet this demand.

“The forecast growth in energy demand from India and Southeast Asia, along with the corresponding rise in demand for our coal will deliver further growth opportunities for NSW coal exports.  This has the potential to deliver more economic opportunities for our State and also deliver a lower global emissions outcome, provided we get the policy settings right here in NSW,” Mr Galilee said.

Coal continues to be NSW’s single most valuable export, contributing around 18% of all exports leaving the State by value.

Contact: Hugo Robinson | hrobinson@nswmining.com.au | 0409 758 734 | 02 9274 1419

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