Coal Age

JUN 2019

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Page 33 of 51

32 June 2019 regional report: australia Queensland Has What the World Needs The Australian state sees its exports growing with increased Asian demand by steve fiscor, editor-in-chief China, Japan, India and southeast Asia consume a substantial amount of coal and those consumption levels will con- tinue to grow with time. With a signifi- cant amount of coal resources located close to this market, Australia main- tains its position as the largest coal-ex- porting country. In 2018, Australia ex- ported more than 203 million metric tons (mt) of thermal coal worth $22.6 billion and 179 million mt of metallur- gical coal worth $37.8 billion, according to the Minerals Council of Australia. Of the 382 million mt of coal export- ed last year, more than 253.5 million mt originated from mines and ports in Queensland, which is an 12.2-mil- lion-mt increase from 2017. "Coal re- mains Queensland's No. 1 export and it's growing. Coal exports increased by almost $4 billion to $36.5 billion in the 12 months until the end of April. Coal exports have doubled over the last four years," Queensland Resources Coun- cil (QRC) CEO Ian Macfarlane said. "When it comes to resources, whether its thermal or metallurgical coal, met- als or gas, Queensland has what the world needs, it wants more of it and is prepared to pay more for it." The coal operations in Queensland support an estimated 215,000 miners. While a couple of large proposed coal mining operations seem to con- stantly grab the headlines, a group of about 50 mines consistently deliver coal to market. BHP Billiton accounts for more than 25% of Australia's annu- al coal exports and 28% of the world's seaborne trade in metallurgical coal. The seven mines of the BHP Mitsubi- shi Alliance (BMA) produced 70.8 mil- lion mt in FY2018. The output, a col- lection of high-quality coking coals, weak coking coals, pulverized coal in- jection (PCI) coals and thermal coals, was sold to more than 60 customers in 24 countries. BHP Mitsui Coal (BMC) accounted for an additional 9.7 million mt of met coal in FY2018. Other major Queensland producers include Glen- core (47.8 million mt); AngloAmeri- can (25.8 million mt); Peabody Ener- gy (16.2 million mt); Jellinbah Group (14.7 million mt); and Coronado Glob- al Resources (12.1 million mt). Production increased by 3.5 mil- lion mt at BMA mines and 1.4 million mt at BMC mines in FY2018. Both groups have access to key infrastruc- ture in the Bowen Basin, including a modern, multiuser rail network and its own coal-loading terminal at Hay Point, located near Mackay. In its lat- est quarterly report, the company said increased yields at South Walker Creek and higher wash-plant throughput at Poitrel following the purchase of the Red Mountain processing facility sup- ported record production at BMC. De- spite record stripping, BMA's produc- tion for the quarter decreased slightly due to a scheduled longwall move at Broadmeadow in the December 2018 quarter and unfavorable weather im- pacts in the March 2019 quarter. During 2018, BMA's production was impacted by challenging geolog- ical conditions at Broadmeadow and geotechnical issues triggered by wet weather at the Blackwater open-cut mine. The company reported that these issues were partially offset by re- cord production at the other five mines, underpinned by improved stripping and truck performance, higher wash- plant throughput from debottleneck- ing activities, and utilization of latent dragline capacity at Caval Ridge. The mining operations at Blackwater sta- bilized during the March 2018 quarter and returned to full capacity during the June 2018 quarter as inventory levels were rebuilt. Broadmeadow eventually progressed through the fault zone. BHP also reported that construction has advanced on the $204 million Caval Ridge Southern Circuit project, which includes an 11-kilometer (km) overland conveyor system that will transport coal from Peak Downs to the prep plant at Caval Ridge. The project will enable full utilization of the 11.5-million-mt- py wash plant with ramp-up expected early in FY2019. During March, BMA completed the sale of the idled Gregory Crinum mine to Sojitz Corp., who plans to restart the mine soon. Glencore operates a total of nine mines in Queensland. One of those, the Rolleston mine, the second largest, produced 15.2 million mt of thermal coal in FY2018. Earlier this year, its Col- linsville and Newlands mines, along with others in the northern region, were impacted by heavy rains. A record A hydraulic shovel loads overburden at Rolleston, Queenland's second-largest mine.

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