Whitehaven Coal has achieved record figures across multiple fronts during the 2019 financial year as it benefitted from the high quality of its thermal coal.
The company has dodged the significant fall in lower grade product prices, allowing it to enjoy higher realised coal prices.
This was particularly evident in respect to its high calorific value thermal coal, which represents 80 per cent of its total coal sales volumes.
Accordingly, Whitehaven’s sales of Maules Creek high-quality thermal coal reached an average premium of nine per cent above the GlobalCoal index price of the year.
Whitehaven also produced more metallurgical coal at Maules Creek during the fiscal year, which drove an increase in the company’s proportion of metallurgical coal sales from 17 to 19 per cent against the previous financial year.
The company produced 23.3 million tonnes of run-of-mine coal, with coal sales reaching 17.6 million tonnes, both a record for Whitehaven.
“It is great to have delivered another record year of profit and continue a pattern of strong and consistent financial returns,” Whitehaven managing director Paul Flynn said.
Whitehaven has paid out a special dividend on the back of a record underlying profit of $564.9 million, up 7.7 per cent on the previous financial year.
It also paid $225.9 million to the New South Wales Government in mining royalties and a further $97.9 million paid in a range of taxes to state and federal governments.
“With significant positive cash flow generated across the portfolio and debt all but eliminated, we are putting our strong balance sheet to work, progressing our two key development projects and investing in technology and expansion initiatives at our existing operations,” Flynn said.
Whitehaven expects its portfolio to strengthen further with the development of the Vickery project in New South Wales and Winchester South in Queensland.
However, it has flagged a rise of approximately 16 per cent in average crude oil prices, which is feeding into the cost of diesel used in production and transportation.