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Australia set to once again be 'world's largest' coal exporter

25 March, 2015

The latest Resources and Energy Quarterly published by the Department of Industry confirms that coal has a bright future in Australia and is once again set to be the world's largest coal exporter by 2017, according to Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

"Data contained in the latest report emphatically refutes claims by industry detractors that coal is in decline. While lower prices will continue to present a challenge for the industry, longer term demand fundamentals remain strong," MCA asserted in a recent statement.

"The process of industrialisation and urbanisation in Asia underpins the positive outlook for Australian coal, with our metallurgical coal and thermal coal playing an integral role in meeting steelmaking demand and the provision of affordable and reliable base load energy.

"Australian coal is in demand across a diversity of markets notably Japan, China, India, Taiwan and Korea while many fast growing ASEAN countries will increasingly look to Australia as a reliable supplier of thermal coal for their electricity generation requirements.

"Over the next few years, Australia's metallurgical coal production is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.8 per cent to 208 million tonnes in 2019-20, while Australia's exports of metallurgical coal are forecast to increase by 5 per cent to 190 million tonnes in 2014-15," MCA asserted.

"Australia's thermal coal production is forecast to decline slightly to 243.5 million tonnes in 2014-15. However, Australia's thermal coal production is expected to increase to 246.3 million tonnes in 2015-16. And, from 2016-17, growth in production is projected to accelerate as projects completed during 2015 and 2016 approach full capacity.

"The Report notes that despite challenging times, Australian coal producers are gaining a bigger share of the coal export market. Exports are forecast to increase by 3.3 per cent to

201 million tonnes in 2014-15, reflecting strong growth in exports in the second half of 2014.

"Over the remainder of the outlook period, Australia's thermal coal exports are projected to increase at an average annual rate of 3 per cent to 234 million tonnes in 2019-20.

"Coal will remain a major economic driver in Australia and a significant contributor to national income that helps underpin investment, jobs and growth in the mainstream economy and across our regions.

"The coal industry will be a key part of the world's electricity generation for many years to come and continue to provide benefits for millions of Australians through cheap and reliable energy generation," MCA said.

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