NSW coal shipments to South Korea from Port Waratah Coal Services’ terminals at the Port of Newcastle increased to 2.2 million tonnes in January.
This is a staggering 100 percent increase from December 2013 and another indication that Australian coal mining companies mean business.
As Australian mining companies continue their push for more efficient productivity, the ship loading activities signify that whatever is happening in the mines is finding it’s way to the port and overseas, in record time.
South Korea has purchased 23.7 per cent of the 9.2 million tonnes of coal that was loaded at PWCS’ two Newcastle coal terminals in January 2014, up from a 10.25 per cent share of December’s total tonnage of 9.5 million tonnes.
Monthly coal shipment volumes
Monthly coal shipment volumes from the Port Waratah Coal Services’ terminals to South Korea last reached the 2 million tonnes in March 2011, and the January total was the highest since cargo destination data tracking commenced way back in January 2010.
The record coal shipment figures are good news for the Australian coal industry as it continues its fight back from falling coal prices, cost control initiatives, workforce reduction strategies and heavy investment in automation and productivity efficiencies.
Mining companies more confident
Confidence in the coal mining industry in Australia and the effect of mining companies trimming their costs have had on mining jobs is still fresh in the minds of people who rely on their income from mining. Not just direct mining jobs, but also the swathe of smaller businesses that support the entire mining industry are also feeling the effects of the pressure on coal at this time.
“100% increase in coal shipments”
When we see good news such as the 100% increase in coal shipments as well as hear about the record iron ore shipments coming out of Western Australia, it starts to paint a different picture as seen by the media.
Australian mining companies are perfectly poised to take advantage of the new phase of the mining, for want of a better term, ‘mining boom’ – the focus on productivity, which creates a buzz in the mining companies and the ripple effect is felt all the way to the coal face.
Workers feel the opportunity to dig in and work together to reach production targets set by company executives, who in turn have promised cash-paying customers their precious cargoes will be delivered on time.
“coal was bound for Mexican power plants”
Australian coal destined for distant shores
Coal mined in Australia inevitably ends up somewhere else in the world owing to the high quality coking and thermal coal deposits found in NSW and Queensland. As an example, coal loaded from Port Waratah Coal Services’ terminals will travel around the globe to countries as far away as Mexico. About 272,000 tonnes of coal was loaded in January bound for Mexican power plants. A total of around 3% of the terminals’ throughput for the month.
“India makes it’s debut as a coal export destination”
Taiwan had dibs on 475,000 tonnes which was shipped to the country in January and even India has made it’s debut as an export destination for Newcastle thermal coal in January, taking 125,000 metric tonnes, or roughly 1.3 per cent of the total coal shipments from the port. Typically, the journey from Newcastle to India would talk around three to four weeks.
Mining companies share ship loading terminal ownership
In summary, thermal coal exports from Port Waratah Coal Services’ terminals in January stood at around the 8 million metric tonne mark of PWCS’ , and coking coal 1.2 million tonnes.
Some of the world’s largest mining companies have a shareholding stake in the port’s three coal terminals. Two of the terminals are operated by PWCS, whose major shareholders include mining giants Rio Tinto and Glencore.
The third ship loading terminal is owned by the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group which is jointly owned by five coal mining companies including BHP Billiton and US based Peabody Energy.
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