A major player on international markets, Fording has 65% ownership of the Elk Valley Coal Corporation (EVCC), the world's second largest exporter of metallurgical coal, capable of supplying approximately 25 million tonnes of high-quality coal products annually to the international steel industry.
The price increases were attained for all of the EVCC's coal products.
"Market conditions at this time are very favourable for seaborne and North American hard-coking coal," said Trust president Jim Gardiner.
"The tight coal supply situation that currently exists in the face of strong demand from our
traditional coal customers and from new customers in China has sharply increased the value of our coal while accelerating the negotiation and settlement process," he said.
More than 80% of EVCC's coal available for sale for the 2004 fiscal year has now been priced and contracted. Average coal prices for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2004 are expected to be US$48 per tonne, an increase of 13% over the current year.
As previously disclosed, the cost of producing coal at the mine sites is expected to decline over the next four years due to operating efficiencies, synergies and declining strip ratios.