Hunter Valley coal still booming

The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics says the Hunter Valley's coal industry is posting record export volumes, and talk of a downturn in the sector may be premature.

ABC News reports BREE executive director Quentin Grafton said unprofitable mines in the Hunter were an exception, and there have “always been issues” with some sites.


“There still may be issues for individual mines, but for the industry as a whole, that's not our view at all,” he said.


“We would expect there would be new mines opening.”


Grafton also said BREE was projecting coal prices to steady over the coming years rather than fall further.


“[There will be] very substantial growth for metallurgical coal and thermal coal over the next five years, close to 100 per cent in one case and 50 per cent in the other case,” he said.


While Grafton remains confident about the industry's future, most coal companies in Australia have announced plans to pursue “aggressive” cost reductions throughout 2013.


Earlier this year Vale, which operates the Integra mine in the Hunter, wiped $1 billion off the value of its Australian coal assets and flagged moves to sell assets, cut investments, and write down unprofitable projects across its portfolio.

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