By Nathan Richardson
January 12, 2018 - The Australian state of Queensland saw its coal exports volume slip year on year to 210.8 million mt in 2017 due to Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which made landfall in late March, the Queensland Resources Council said Friday.
The 2017 volume was down 10 million mt, or 5%, from the previous year's record 220.8 million mt.
"That fall in coal is due to Cyclone Debbie severally damaging rail infrastructure, and according to Queensland Treasury, the cyclone decreased coal exports by 11 [million mt]," it said.
"In other words, in the absence of the cyclone, Queensland coal exports would have reached another volume record," it added.
Queensland, which ships both metallurgical and thermal coal, exports the products from terminals at Abbot Point, Gladstone, Dalrymple Bay, Hay Point and Brisbane. QRC said that the state is in a prime position to continue to be "one of the main players in global coal exports" and that the industry is expected to contribute A$3.16 billion ($2.49 billion) to the state's coffers in this year's budget.
In the 2016-2017 (July-June) fiscal year, Queensland's coal royalties almost doubled year on year to A$1.897 billion.
Queensland coal was exported to at least 37 different countries last year, which included Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Algeria, South Africa, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, UAE, and 16 countries in Europe.
Australia's total coal exports in 2017 stood at 379 million mt, comprising 53% of metallurgical and 47% thermal, down from 389 million mt, 52% metallurgical and 48% thermal, a year earlier, the country's Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said earlier in the week.
It expects the total to rise to 397 million mt, comprising 51% of metallurgical coal and 49% thermal, this year, and level off in 2019 at 396 million mt, 51% metallurgical and 49% thermal, it said.