Domestic coal production has grown in New South Wales over the past year, in spite of weak commodity prices.
According to new statistics released by Coal Services, saleable coal production has increased by 5.7 per cent over the 2013/14 period, growing from 185 million tonnes to more than 196 million tonnes.
The report also showed in the 11 months to 21 May this year, actual coal exports from Newcastle have increased more than ten per cent, jumping from 129 million tonnes to 143 million tonnes.
The major export hubs have also grown in significance, as demand increases.
NSW coal exports to China have risen to close to 26 per cent, while Taiwanese export demand grew by 15 per cent, South Korea nine per cent, and Japan a smaller four per cent.
Speaking at Diggers & Dealers yesterday, renowned economist Lord King explained that China’s jump is due to the fact it is no longer self-sufficient for resources.
“The old self-sufficient China has turned into one that is vulnerable, and dependent on imports,” King said.
According to the China Coal Industry Association more than two third of Chinese coal mining companies are operating at a loss, as new regulations plan to lift the standard of Chinese coal mined and shut around 2000 inefficient mines by 2015.
This has led to increased demand for high quality Australian coal to meet the expected shortfall in Chinese domestic supply.
“This growth in production and the volume of coal exported is a good sign for economic growth in NSW,” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said.
“These [newly released] figures show demand is still strong.”
Figures from the International Energy Agency have also shown that global electricity demand may double between 2009 and 2035, with coal slated to meet more of these demand than either oil or gas over the next five years.
“The NSW coal industry is well placed to make the most of this demand,” Galilee stated.
“So while the local industry is experiencing short-term challenges, the long term prospects are good, provided we can continue to meet the future demand.”