Senate estimates was told that metallurgical coking coal prices were now 46 per cent higher than last year and the drop in volumes had been small as producers had moved their cargoes to Japan, India and South Korea.
That conflicts with claims from BHP’s president of Australian minerals Edgar Basto who recently said the impact from China on BHP was significant. Labor’s Senator Murray Watts also said he had been informed by smaller and higher cost players in the Queensland sector that there were major impacts.
Officials from the Department of Industry, Science, Environment and Resources said sales into China from Australia were effectively zero, but that it had run down its coal stockpiles.
The department said the premiums had declined but counterveiling that was that China’s actions have pushed up all prices and that has led to constraints that had increased the price of coal.
“The increases we are seeing are more than offsetting the China actions,” the department’s Paul Trotman said.
“We think the sector in Queensland is holding up pretty well, but we are mindful that there are coal mines that are in and out of care-and-maintenance and that has an impact on jobs.”
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