Asian thermal coal demand to reach a billion tonnes a year

Coal operation at the Mt Owen mine in New South Wales.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has stressed that Australia must adapt to emissions-reducing technology to meet growing seaborne thermal coal demand in the Asia Pacific region.

The MCA, which released a thermal coal demand report on behalf of Commodity Insights, expects Asian thermal coal imports to grow by more than 270 million tonnes to 1.1 billion per annum by 2030

This forecast that factors in technology costs and the steps countries are taking to respond to climate change.

MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable said the report challenged local coal miners to work towards reducing emissions by implanting technologies including carbon capture, utilisation and storage.

“Australian thermal coal is amongst the highest quality in the world, enabling more energy to be produced with less (carbon dioxide) emitted per (kilowatt hour) of electricity produced than most alternative sources,” she said.

“It is critically important to achieve global net zero emissions, and there are clearly challenges ahead in the Asia-Pacific region in relation to emissions reduction, requiring consideration of low-emissions technologies such as CCUS, renewables, gas and nuclear power to meet Paris Agreement goals.”

To deliver lower levels of carbon dioxide, the MCA’s climate action plan has focussed on implementing low emissions technology to mine sites in Australia.

“As the world recovers from COVID-19 and works towards a zero net emissions future, Australian minerals companies will play a central role in providing the resources needed to grow sustainably in coming decades,” Constable said.

Australia’s thermal coal exports of thermal and metallurgical coal reached $54.6 billion in 2019-20 – 11.5 per cent of Australia’s total export revenue.

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