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He said in Yancoal's annual report that the company was also preparing for an uncertain outlook on coal prices brought about by the pandemic.
"The year began with two unforeseen and significant challenges: serious bushfires across much of Australia and the COVID-19 pandemic," Zhang said.
"Yancoal has responded admirably to both these events."
During the bushfire crisis, many Yancoal employees stepped away from the coalface and volunteered to help fight the ferocious blazes.
"In addition to localised assistance to fire brigades within their communities through the donation of equipment and provisions, Yancoal Australia also donated $500,000 directly to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, which will be distributed to help provide additional training, fire shed equipment and fir shed maintenance," Zhang said.
He said Yancoal also responded rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our focus on the health and safety of all our employees intensified as we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and we implemented work practices to mitigate transmission risks and our operations experienced minimal disruption," Zhang said.
"Yancoal also worked closely with relevant industry groups and government to develop protocols to ensure the mining sector continued to operate and contribute to the Australian economy."
According to Zhang, during 2019, the demand profile for thermal coal in the Asia-Pacific region softened as a result of several factors.
"As a consequence of evolving market conditions, index coal prices moved lower, and the premium for high-grade thermal coal relative to lower grade indices narrowed," he said.
"Although the metallurgical coal market displayed better price stability during the first half of 2019, it too deteriorated during the second half of the year."
Zhang said in 2020, international coal markets faced the additional challenge of the economic response to COVID-19 measures applied by governments.