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A Bit of Good News For Coal?

By Charles Kubach, Mine-Engineer.Com
28 Aug., 2014

At least for coal mining companies that export their coal, there is a dim light in the tunnel. Steam coal prices have been low for 5 years, when combined with the EPA effectively shuttering 50% of coal burning US power plants, due to their fondness for other fuels, coal has taken a beating from government and the marlets, as well.

In dollars, this has cut hundreds of millions of dollars to a billion or so off of their annual earnings. This has also resulted in the loss of thousands of coal mining jobs in the industry, 10,000 in Australia, alone. But the over supply of steam coal has diminished and prices are increasing, along with demand in Asia, so a few of the unemployed coal miners may get back to work and companies car re-start a few shuttered coal mines.

Above is a table of US steam coal prices, FOB Mine and a chart of Australian steam coal prices, FOB Newcastle Port. It is easy to see Australian coal is selling for $74 in July 2014, while US Coal is selling for $56/ton, with much lower ash, about the same % sulfur and higher BTU's. This is due to the fact that Australian coal is mostly exported to India and China. If one is in the coal business in the USA, with the Obama Admin prosecuting a all out war with the coal industry via the Power Drunk EPA, one must export to remain in business.

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