General coal industry overview

JOHN T Boyd opens first Australian office; Nardell produces first coal; and more.

Staff Reporter

Major US mining and geological company, John T Boyd company, has opened an office in Brisbane to service the local coal mining industry. The Australian office is headed by managing director Chris Wilkinson, a mining consultant from South Africa, who is well known to the local Australian industry. An interview with Wilkinson will be published on ILN on April 23.

The Nardell coal project has produced its first ROM coal and first washed coal is expected in May. Coal will be mined in the Pikes Gully seam by continuous miner. Production is expected to eventually reach 3.5Mtpa when a longwall starts up in three-to-four years. The mine is currently on the market and reports indicate bidders have made final inspections.

NSW coal miner and owner of the Tahmoor mine, Austral, has won a 23% price increase for its hard coking coal. Up to 70% of 2001 production has secured contracts.

Japan's Chubu Electric Power Company agreed to a 20% rise on thermal coal from Australian producers for the year starting April 1. This lifts the price of Australian thermal coal to $US34.50 a tonne.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Queensland-based coal producer, Australian Premium Coal, has won an increase of over 30% for its Coppabella low voltile PCI coal from a Japanese steel mill. This would put the price at $US36 per tonne for JFY2001.

BHP has filed contempt proceedings against the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). This comes a week after the Federal Court fined the union $200,000 for an illegal stoppage at the company’s NSW mines in February last year. BHP continues to hold its line on winning flexible employment conditions, including the right to employ contractors on demand. The strike has cost the company $100m. On April 9, a spokesperson said that even if the workers return to work immediately it will take until October 2001 to restore coal exports to their former level. The spokesperson said the ability of the company's coal division to service customers in Asia and Europe has been severely diminished.

Coal exports from the Port of Newcastle increased 6% in the Japanese Finacial Year (JFY) 2000 to 67.74Mt. In JFY 1999 Port Waratah Coal Services handled 63.847 million tonnes. In March 2001 only 5.17 million tonnes was exported with the queue of vessels increasing to 25 vessels currently off the port.