Weakening coal prices are continuing to squeeze the margins of thermal and coking coal producers with Schmidt not expecting any significant price recovery until late 2016 at the earliest.
“I don't know whether its 15 or 20 but there are quite a number of businesses which are on the market," he told Fairfax Media.
"We look at most of them but half the problem is that they are generally not tier one assets and the people who are trying to sell these things still don't have their head around the fact that they may have overpaid for them four years ago to such an extent that they are never going to recover that value."
Schmidt blamed inflated asset prices for why few deals have occurred in the coal space over the past 12 months.
“Gone are the days where people are going to do deals on the sort of multiples that you saw during the boom times,” he said.
“I think there is far more realism that has entered into the coal space."
Yancoal , which can soldier through losses thanks to the longer term focus of its Chinese parent company, will only acquire coal companies or mines which are profitable with only 30% in this category according to the CEO.
"We'll only buy something that is making money today,” he told Fairfax.
“If it doesn't make money, we're not going to do it."
Schmidt was asked for his thoughts on how Yancoal chairman Li Xiyong boasted to Chinese press over the resignation of minority shareholder-focused Yancoal director James MacKenzie.
"I cannot comment on what happens between a chairman and a director and what discussions they have,” Schmidt said.
“It's up to those two to make any comments on this."