Caval Ridge expands in oversupplied environment

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Caval Ridge mine in Queensland is seemingly the only expanding Australian metallurgical coal mine as global exports of the oversupplied commodity fall again last month.
Caval Ridge expands in oversupplied environment Caval Ridge expands in oversupplied environment Caval Ridge expands in oversupplied environment Caval Ridge expands in oversupplied environment Caval Ridge expands in oversupplied environment

Stock piles at BMA's Caval Ridge mine. Image courtesy of contract miner Leighton.

Blair Price

“Global seaborne metallurgical coal exports ran at [a rate of] 305 million tonnes per annum in October, down 2% year-on-year and 6% month-on-month,” Macquarie Wealth Management said.

“This marks the third consecutive month of sub-1% year-on-year growth (August was also down year-on-year, while September was up just 1%).

This plateauing is mainly the result of weaker exports from North America, where a series of mine supply curtailments have been announced this year.

Yet Australian met coal exports also fell 4.5% year-on-year in October – considered the first year-on-year decline since January 2013.

“This is a reflection of the fact that there is essentially only one asset ramping up – BMA’s Caval Ridge – while for the rest, it is a question of how long the efficiency gains seen over the past two years can be maintained,” Macquarie said.

BMA has faced union criticism for worsening the met coal glut by maintaining high rates of low-cost production.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially opened the Caval Ridge open cut mine in October.

Caval Ridge is BMA’s eighth operation in Queensland and is initially targeting up to 5.5Mtpa of premium met coal.

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