Gloucester Coal sets hot pace for June quarter
GLOUCESTER Coal has increased sales in the June quarter taking advantage of buoyant prices, strong demand and surplus port capacity as wet weather continued to weigh on production.
GLOUCESTER Coal has increased sales in the June quarter taking advantage of buoyant prices, strong demand and surplus port capacity as wet weather continued to weigh on production.Coal sales in the quarter surged 16 per cent to 612,000 tonnes, from 527,000 tonnes in the June quarter a year ago, reflecting a 19 per cent increase in sales of thermal coal, which is mostly used to generate electricity, to 373,000 tonnes.Sales of coking coal, used in steel production, rose a more modest 11 per cent to 238,000 tonnes.The company "maximised sales for the quarter by taking advantage of its port capacity", it said yesterday. "Only minimal stocks were on hand at the end of the quarter."Because of a drop in demand for coking coal in Japan, the coal was sold into the spot market during the quarter, "to ensure mine stockpiles remained manageable".Thermal coal demand "remained robust, with excellent offtake occurring".Xstrata, which owns large coalmines in Queensland as well as in New South Wales, along with base metals mines, posted essentially flat coal production in Australia in the June half, reflecting the continued effect of flooding and wet weather.Overall, its coal production in Australia slipped to 25 million tonnes from 25.1 million in the same period of 2010, with rises in output of steaming coal offset by declines in coking coal and semi-soft coking coal, a poorer-quality coking coal.Even so, average prices received remained strong, with the export price of Xstrata's Australian steaming coal rising to $US104 a tonne from $US80.Similarly, its Australian coking coal export price surged to $US259 a tonne from $US193 a year earlier, with the semi-soft coking coal export price rising to $US187 a tonne from $US123.Output of semi-soft coking coal was hit by the closure of the United colliery last year and the effect of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.Coking coal was also hit by the moving of longwall mining units at the Tahmoor mine south of Sydney and the Oaky No.1 and Oaky North mines in Queensland.