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IEA Outlook shows continuing strong demand for Australian coal

17 December 2019

The latest coal report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has underlined ongoing strong international demand for Australian coal, with growth in demand in India and other Asian countries offsetting declines in Europe and the United States.

The IEA’s Coal 2019 Analysis and forecasts to 2024 finds that coal remains an important part of the global energy mix and was the largest source of electricity in 2018 with 38 per cent of the global share.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the IEA report forecast increasing demand for Australian coal and a growing share of global coal trade from 2018 to 2024.

“We have some of the highest quality thermal coal in the world, and the International Energy Agency report shows Australian coal will be in strong demand around the world for many years to come, particularly in India and other Asian nations,” Minister Canavan said.

The IEA report said Australia’s coal exports were 382 million tonnes in 2018, an increase of about three million tonnes or 0.8 per cent on the previous year. The higher volumes and prices meant export revenues totalled US$67 billion (approximately A$97.5 billion), making coal the country’s most valuable export commodity.

Australia’s coal production is forecast to reach 444 million tonnes of coal equivalent (mtce) in 2024 to meet export demand, up 35 mtce compared to 2018.

Output for metallurgical coal, used for steelmaking, is forecast to rise 1.8 per cent per year from 174 mtce in 2018 to 194 mtce in 2024.  Output for thermal coal, used for electricity generation, is forecast to rise 1.1 per cent per year from 219 mtce to 234 mtce.

“In August this year, I released the Coal in India report and visited India to promote Australia as a reliable energy supplier and to encourage investment in Australian resources,” Minister Canavan said.

“The IEA report shows Australia is well placed to take advantage of the shifts in international demand, and to supply markets in Southeast Asia and India as new coal-based electricity generation comes on line over the coming years.

“For the sake of Aussie jobs and our dynamic regional communities we need to grasp the opportunities that coal presents, both here and overseas.”

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180