Yancoal predicts coal volatility in 2020

Yancoal has temporarily suspended operations at several Hunter Valley mines in New South Wales for a few days due to poor air quality resulting from bushfires.

Dust and bushfire smoke delays impacted overburden activities at the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine, which is just out of Singleton, during the December quarter.

Yancoal, however enjoyed a strong run-of-mine (ROM) coal production late in the quarter once coal mining locations became available.

It still produced 6 per cent less ROM coal than the prior corresponding quarter during this period, totalling 4.7 million tonnes.

As a total, however, Yancoal’s ROM coal production went up by 10 per cent to 19 million tonnes on the prior corresponding period.

The company also achieved a lower average realised coal price of $93 per tonne during the December period, down from $107 per tonne in the previous quarter.

“The lower realised average price Yancoal achieved in the quarter reflected the global thermal coal market trend observed through 2019,” Yancoal chief executive Reinhold Schmidt said.

“The thermal coal price will be influenced by pending policy decision in several customer markets and exchange rate movements possibly impacting future supply from miners with a US dollar cost base.

“Despite the recent index price stability, there is the potential for price volatility to evolve during the first half of 2020.”

Yancoal sells most of its products to Japan, Korea and China, with no single country representing more than 25 per cent of its total sales volume.

Its December quarter sales volume comprises of thermal coal, which represents 87 per cent, with metallurgical coal the remaining 13 per cent.

Yancoal also felt the impacts of excess steel supply and price competition in the international steel market, which the company claimed to reduce metallurgical coal demand.

The employer of 3000 people expects this trend to continue into 2020.

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