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Coal set to overtake iron ore as Australia’s largest export earner

Coal set to overtake iron ore as Australia’s largest export earner article image

Coal is forecast to be Australia’s largest export earner this financial year, a new report finds.

The report from the Department of Industry’s Office of the Chief Economist estimates coal exports will hit $58.1 billion in 2018-19, with iron ore exports forecast to earn $57.7 billion.

Historically, coal has been one of Australia’s biggest export earners and the latest forecasts confirm its ongoing resurgence and significant contribution to the Australian economy.

Coal exports are the largest export contributor in both NSW and Queensland and are mostly sold into Asian markets – both established north Asian markets and the rapidly-growing economies of Southeast Asia and India.

The June 2018 Resources and Energy Quarterly shows coal is expected to earn $60.2 billion in 2017-18 – its highest-ever annual level – including 182 million t or $37.5 billion worth of metallurgical (steel-making) coal and 200.5 million t or $22.7 billion of thermal (energy) coal.

Import demand for thermal coal alone across Asia could expand by up to 400 million t more than current levels by 2030, according to recent expert analysis by Commodity Insights for the MCA and the COAL21.

High-quality Australian coal is among the best in the world for modern steelmaking.

The high-energy, low ash qualities of Australian coal ideally match the needs of the many high efficiency low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power plants being built throughout Asia.

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