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Keeps on keeping on: Adani starts hunt for workers as coal prices boom

Business

Adani’s mining subsidiary Bravus has almost completed its development of the $2 billion Carmichael and has started hiring operational workers.

 

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About 280 jobs are up for grabs for the controversial mining company as they company moves to an operational role with mining expected to take place next year.

The change in direction comes as coal moved into record price levels not seen since 2008, boosting an industry under siege and facing calls for its demise, but also topping up the State Government’s royalties.

Earlier today, scientists said 95 per cent of fossil fuels would have to stay in the ground if the world was to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Terracom, a company that mines the Blair Athol project in central Queensland as well as mines in South Africa, said today that it was anticipating $200 million in operating cash margin over next 12 months. Its shares jumped 4 per cent.

“Blair Athol is forecast to generate revenue of $178 per tonne in September 2021 which will generate an operating cash margin in excess of $100 per tonne,’’ Terracom told investors. 

“Both the Newcastle Index and API4 (South Africa’s coal index) are nearing all-time highs and are at levels which have not been seen since mid-2008, being twelve years ago. 

“Based on economic forecasts the indexes are expected to remain solid throughout FY2022 and as a result, the company expects to generate strong operating cash flows from Blair Athol in FY2022.”

Metallurgical coal was selling at $US300 a tonne this week and overseas companies selling to China were earning a staggering $US480 a tonne, a price boosted because China has banned imports of Australian coal.

Thermal coal, which Bravus will be producing at Carmichael, has doubled in price in a year and the higher quality Newcastle coals are near $US100 a tonne, but much higher for producers overseas.

RBC Capital Markets said supply tightness due to COVID-related border restrictions between China and Mongolia had pushed seaborne met coal prices to multi-year highs, including record highs in China. 

“Current prices should drive strong free cash flow generation, especially for those producers with an ability to sell into China, but in our view, these prices are not sustainable,” RBC said. 

“However, the tightness could linger into the fourth quarter depending on the COVID situation in Mongolia. We have increased our second half 2021 price estimate to $US190 a tonne, from $150 a tonne. 

“Barring any weather disruptions or otherwise, we expect increased supply later this year and the market returning to balance in 2022. We have maintained our price estimate of $US150/t for 2022 and beyond.”

Bravus chief executive David Boshoff said the jobs required now were in the usual trade jobs as well as haul truck drivers and maintenance workers.

He said the project had generated 2600 jobs and signed $2.2 billion in contracts during the construction phase.

“We are proud to have made good on our promises to Queensland and especially regional Queensland,” Boshoff said.

“More than 88 per cent of contracts are being delivered in Queensland. This work has been spread across all corners of the state to give as many regions as possible the opportunity to benefit from our project, while also enabling us to tap into the highly-skilled construction and resources industry workforce that Queensland possesses.”

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