Coal Age

SEP 2018

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September 2018 19 prb roundup continued Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Shipments are expected to begin as early as the end of 2019 and continue for a period of between 30 and 40 months, reaching up to 1 million metric tons (mt) in the final contract year. Since the company announced the JERA Trading contract, Cloud Peak Energy has been discussing test burns with five Jap- anese utilities. "Two test burns have been successfully completed and discussions for four more test cargos are under way," Mar- shall said. "There is no assurance that these test burns will lead to future sales." Loading nine vessels at Westshore Ter- minals, the company exported 1.3 million tons during the second quarter of 2018. "We have contracted 4.1 million tons for the year and expect to ship 5.5 million tons as long as there are no interruptions to the rail or port system," Marshall said. With strong Asian utility demand and favorable pricing, the company ex- pects higher export volumes and pricing in 2018, which would offset some of the other issues. For 2018, the coal shipments for the three mines should total 50 million tons to 54 million tons, of which approxi- mately 5.5 million tons would be exported. Marshall still sees excess capacity in the PRB. "We've got 2 million tons domes- tically to sell and we're looking for a home for that," Marshall said. "So, I think that's the reason why pricing isn't more support- ive in the PRB. There are still unsold tons in the PRB, and obviously we're incentiv- ized to sell the coal to run our mines be- ing such high fixed cost businesses." When that comes into balance, Marshall said PRB operators may get more favorable pricing. The Powder River Basin (PRB) of Wyoming and Montanta is the largest low-sulfur coal source in the nation. Eight of the 10 largest mines in the United States are located in the PRB. (Source: BNSF Railway)

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