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Australia's coal exports hit a record high A$56.5 billion ($44.21 billion) in 2017, the previous record was A$46.7 billion in 2011. Exports from New South Wales and Queensland of thermal and metallurgical coal were up 35% year on year.

Australia Metalurgical Coal Exports

"Historically coal has been Australia's biggest export earner and these trade numbers confirm its ongoing strength and significant contribution to the economy," Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) said in a statement.

  • Thermal coal exports in 2017 totaled 200 million mt, worth A$20.8 billion
  • Metallurgical coal exports totaled 172 million mt, worth A$35.7 billion

Most of the coal was exported to Asia, from established markets in North Asia to the fast growing economies of Southeast Asia and India. 

Australian Thermal Coal Exports

MCA said. "Southeast Asia is emerging as a significant new market for Australian coal due to its recent investments in high efficiency, low emission coal-fired power plants significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Exports to this market were worth approximately A$2 billion in 2017," 

MCA pointed to high productivity within the Australian coal mining industry, proximity to major markets and strong regional economic and population growth as factors that "will continue to underpin coal exports in the long term."

The minerals council also stated that the 'addition to export revenue coal continues to make a significant contribution to the domestic economy including providing 75 per cent of generation in the National Electricity Market, over 51,000 direct jobs and $5 billion in royalties annually."

Source: Minerals Council of Australia

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