Mining in Lithgow: Strong Asian demand presents valuable opportunity

In Demand: A strong Asian demand for NSW coal is an opportunity the industry can’t afford to miss, NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee warned. Photo: Centennial Coal
In Demand: A strong Asian demand for NSW coal is an opportunity the industry can’t afford to miss, NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee warned. Photo: Centennial Coal

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A strong Asian demand for NSW coal is an opportunity the industry can’t afford to miss, NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee has warned.

Mr Galilee was commenting on a new report by industry analyst Commodity Insights, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia and COAL 21 Fund.

Strong future prospects for NSW coal exports due to a significant increase in Asian demand.

Stephen Galilee

Forecasting strong demand across existing and emerging Asian markets between now and 2030, the report highlighted a significant opportunity for NSW, and the risk that this opportunity may be lost to others.

“This report confirms strong future prospects for NSW coal exports due to a significant increase in Asian demand for thermal coal for power generation, providing an opportunity for more NSW mining jobs, higher sustained NSW mining royalties and lower global emissions,” Mr Galilee said. 

“It should also be understood that failure to grasp this opportunity will mean thermal coal will be supplied by others, resulting in less NSW jobs, less NSW mining royalties, and potentially higher global emissions from low quality coal.”  

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The report estimates Asian thermal coal demand will grow over 400 million tonnes (Mt) from 740Mt in 2017 to 1147Mt in 2030, double Australia’s total 2017 thermal coal export volume of 200Mt.

Demand is expected to be driven by increased regional industrialisation and the development of high efficiency low emission coal-fired power stations across many of NSW’s traditional coal export markets including Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea, as well as in emerging markets like Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. 

Mr Galilee said this year’s NSW Budget was a clear demonstration of mining’s economic benefits, with a record $1.8 billion in royalties for 2017-18, and higher royalties forecast for the years ahead to help pay for more services for the community. 

“The projected $7.4 billion in mining royalties to 2021-22 would more than pay for the NSW Government’s $6 billion commitment to fund 170 new and upgraded schools, or pay for almost all of the NSW Government’s $8 billion commitment for better health facilities including 40 new or upgraded hospitals across NSW,” he said.

“This report shows that, with the right policies to support mining, we can lock in these benefits for the longer term.”