Thermal coal exports to Asia over the next 20 plus years will continue to increase and maintain job security for onsite mine workers and employees in allied industries, according to independent analysts, Commodity Insights.

The NSW thermal coal sector is enjoying healthy conditions with expert independent analysis forecasting this to continue to at least 2040.  

Prices are steady at around $114 a tonne compared to around $49 a tonne in January 2016 and demand has continued at near record levels through the Port of Newcastle.

Demand for NSW coal is strong, particularly from traditional Asian markets such as Japan, Taiwan and Korea. Exports of NSW thermal coal to Japan rose by 2.4% between December 2016 and December 2017 – from 62.8 to 64.3 million tonnes.

Recently the Japanese Ambassador to Australia, Mr Sumio Kusaka, told a conference in Brisbane that Japan would continue to buy coal from Australia to secure its energy needs into the future – ”…Japan seeks to further strengthen cooperation with Australia to ensure the stable supply of coal moving ahead.”

According to the most recent report on Southeast Asia from the independent International Energy Agency (IEA), Southeast Asia and India will be the primary growth centre of global coal demand to 2040, with emerging economies in the region increasing their demand for thermal coal to meet their rapidly growing energy needs.

The IEA forecasts coal consumption in South East Asia will more than double by 2040 to 390 million tonnes, driven by an increase in demand for reliable and affordable electricity. Electricity demand in the region is expected to grow by 3.7% per year to 2040 and coal share in the region’s power mix is forecast to increase from around 35% today to a little over 40% over the same period.

This positive outlook is supported by company forecasts and expert industry analysis.

A recent report by Commodity Insights forecasts strong demand for Australian thermal coal across existing and emerging Asian markets between now and 2030. Commodity Insights estimate Asian thermal coal demand will grow by over 400 million tonnes (Mt) from 740 million tonnes in 2017 to 1147 million tonnes in 2030. This is double Australia’s total 2017 thermal coal export volume of 200Mt and a significant opportunity for NSW thermal coal producers.