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Mining profits hit $80 billion as coal prices boosted by crisis


Australian mining companies generated $80 billion in gross profits in the July quarter, a rise of 50 per cent in a year.

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Over the financial year, mining profits topped $266.9 billion.

Much of the massive increase in the sector can be attributed to the coal sector which has experienced record-breaking increases in prices and adds weight to the State Government’s claim that its royalty increases were justified.

Share prices for companies like New Hope have soared. The Queensland coal miner recently earned a mining lease approval for its Acland expansion and its share price jumped another 5 per cent today to $5.40. Whitehaven jumped 7 per cent to $8.52, Bowen Coking Coal was up 5 per cent to 41 cents and Terracom was up 7 per cent to $1.

Coronado, which produces mainly coking coal but has said it was switching some of its production to the thermal market, rose 4 per cent to $1.69.

The share price increases was on the back of increased tension in Europe over energy prices after Russia extended the stoppage of gas supplies. That tension was likely to provide support for coal prices in the near term.

Overall, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that company gross operating profits rose 7.6 per cent in the June quarter while wages and salaries rose 3.3 per cent, seasonally adjusted.

While mining profits are booming, the non-mining sector non-mining profits grew by 9.4 per cent for the June year and non-mining wages grew 6.6 per cent.

The Australia Institute said the latest figures were more evidence that profits continued to outpace wages growth.

“Since March 2016 total profits have risen 157 per cent while wages grew just 25 per cent. Even excluding the mining sector, non-mining profits rose by 55 per cent more than double the 25 per cent increase in non-mining wages,” TAI said.

The Queensland Resources Council has maintained that the higher prices allow the industry to deal with the cyclical nature of the industry and pointed out that 18 months ago prices were below the long-term average.

It said iron ore would have also contributed heavily to the profit figures from the ABS.

Treasurer Cameron Dick has refused to yield to mining industry criticism about the Government’s dramatic hike in coal royalties which it claimed would cost the sector billions and force companies to deploy their capital elsewhere.

The Treasurer said Yancoal, which owns three Queensland coal mines and reported revenue of $4.8 billion for the first six months of the year, an increase of $3 billion on the previous year.

Whitehaven, which is the developer of the $1 billion Winchester South coal mine, reported revenue of $4.9 billion for 12 months, up from $1.5 billion.

Stanmore, which recently bought the BMC joint venture mines, recorded revenue of $1.1 billion for the first six months, “a 15-fold increase”, according to the Treasurer.

Coronado, which owns the Curragh mine as well as coal production in the US, reported revenue of $US2 billion, an increase of 147 per cent.

The ANZ said the overall profits would feed into second quarter GDP of 0.8 per cent.

The bank’s job ads series also increased by 2 per cent in August, exceeding the peak in March.




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