2 thoughts on “Australian thermal coal price at 5 year high”

  1. The coal quality quoted is confusing and may not be accurate.
    Coal contracts always mention a total moisture. The standard is usually 8%. The actual tonnage on the ship measured from the draft is adjusted from the measured total moisture back to 8% contact moisture. The ash, sulphur, and specific energy is measured on an inherent moisture (normally called air dried basis). For most exported thermal Australian coal the AD moisture is 1.5 to 2%. Lower rank coal such as the Indonesian coal or the Australian Blair Athol coal has an higher AD moisture 7.5 to 10% (and hence higher total moisture which for Blair Athol is around 14%). The specific energy of Australian coals are quoted in units of MJ/kg or GJ/tonne. Kcal/kg is not used in contracts. Aust. export thermal coal has a specific energy (AD) in the range 30-31 MJ/kg. The ash content (AD) is 14-16% and the total sulphur (AD) is in the range 0.5 to1.0%. Australia coal has normal a price advantage over South African and Indonesian Coal because of better quality. Most northern hemisphere coals such as USA and European coals have higher sulphur content.

  2. As cementafriend says, the standard assumed TM (total moisture) exported out of Newcastle is 8%. I think this is accepted as given, although confirmed by independent assays on individual shipments at both ends of the shipping routes.

    Nonetheless, the prices of both coking and thermal coals have risen recently, much to the muted chagrin of the green bureaucracies and NGO’s. Most of the thermal demand is from SE Asia with China still buying large swathes of coking coal.

    It should be noted that Yancoal is still pursuing purchases of Rio Tinto’s coal mining operations, both coking and thermal. While Yancoal may not achieve all it may wish at the prices it would wish (Whitehaven is also a player here), it is not purchasing assets it considers “stranded”. China doesn’t necessarily take the Adam Bandts of the world seriously but merely outflanks them.

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