US coal up thanks to Australia

The US has received a boost on the global coking coal market and they’ve got Australia to thank for it.

American coal conglomerate Alpha Natural Resources has credited Australia's rising costs, driven by the carbon and mining taxes and Queensland's royalty hikes for the improvements, the Australian reported.

"The fact is that their cost inflation has been so rapid that it is actually improving the US's relative position in the global seaborne metallurgical market," the group’s vice-president of investor relations, Todd Allen, told a conference in the US.

Allen said that recent cost inflations have far outstripped that of the US and Canada and accounted the rising costs to changes in federal and state government regulations and the inflated cost of labour.

"Queensland has just levied a new royalty on metallurgical coal that can increase the cost of production by several dollars per tonne.

"You've got the carbon tax and minerals resource rent tax.” Allen told the conference.

Offshore miners may be over the moon about the competitive advantages they seem to be gaining from Australia’s increasing costs, the advantages come at a price which local coal miners are currently paying.

These comments come after a year of job cuts across the board.

Australian Mining has reported 40 jobs cut at Anglo American’s Dawson coal mine, 35 at their Capcoal Grass Tree operations and another 50 jobs from its Moranbah North mine.

In September Xstrata announced they would slash 600 jobs across its coal operations.

Rio shut its Blair Athol coal mine earlier this month and BHP also closed their Gregory coal mine in October.

It has been reported that more than 5000 jobs have already been shed in Queensland and it is expected both the NSW and Queensland coal sectors are set to endure more turmoil in the coming year.

"Queensland is in fierce competition for capital for resource projects with other jurisdictions that have superior cost structures and lower taxes and royalties," Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said.

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