Coal exports from major ports around the country were reportedly 14% more than the same month a year ago when the Queensland floods dampened production numbers.
While the increase in volume reflected healthy production from the nation’s coal mines, profitability may have been affected by a 5% drop in thermal coal prices in April.
Dow Jones Newswires reported coal exports reached 11.8Mt in April at the port of Newcastle in New South Wales, up from 9.7Mt in April 2011. Exports from Queensland’s Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay were slightly lower but exports from Abbot Point, Gladstone, Brisbane and Port Kembla in NSW were higher than a year ago.
Coal export data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for April will be released on Friday, giving a snapshot of exports in value but not production terms.
In early 2011, adverse weather disabled mines in the major coal production regions in Queensland and to a lesser extent NSW.
Production volumes slumped as open cut coal mines filled with water and infrastructure and transport was damaged. The Queensland Resources Council estimated 40Mt of coal exports were lost due to the flooding in the 2011 financial year.
As the Queensland mining industry has largely overcome the effects of the floods in early 2011, its figures are expected to show an improvement in both value and volume terms.