President of BHP Billiton’s global coal business Dean Dalla Valle says the mining giant expects global demand for both energy and metallurgical coal to grow in the coming decades, but has warned that a focus on productivity will be integral to generating acceptable returns from increased demand.
Speaking at the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) energy and resources series in Brisbane, Mr Dalla Vale reiterated the importance of a high-performing culture in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the coal export industry in Australia.
He said BHP Billiton’s investment in common processes and systems gave the company a comparative advantage to replicate best practice across the group.
"Our business has the equipment, technology, infrastructure and expertise to operate our mines more safely and efficiently than ever before," he said.
"Over the past 18 months we have focused on our cost base throughout our operations.
"There is still more we need to do as we look for ways to improve the productivity and competitiveness of our mines."
Mr Della Vale also echoed comments by BHP Billiton chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie in March that extolled the social and economic contributions of coal.