• Coal Council of Australia

Coal's No.1 in 2018

Greg Evans, Chief Executive


Coal has now asserted its pivotal role in the Australian economy - it is our largest export, and it

remains the dominant fuel in our energy mix.


The export performance is a resounding rebuttal of coal detractors who have repeatedly called the

end of this iconic industry due to falling demand.


Trade numbers released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm coal was the nation’s

largest single export in 2018.


Total coal exports in the past 12 months to the end of December were valued at $66.2 billion up

from $57.1 billion in 2017. The next largest export was iron ore which was valued at $63 billion.

Historically coal has been Australia’s most significant export contributor, and the latest data signifies a resurgent industry with a positive future. Coal was previously our largest export in 2009.


The robust performance of the sector has delivered tangible benefits for all Australians including

across the coal regions of Queensland and NSW. The benefits include over 150,000 direct and

related jobs and rising tax and royalty collections.


Coal royalties provide $5.5 billion directly to those two State governments while overall tax

collections and the flow on economic activity has helped improve the Commonwealth budget

position.

In addition to exports coal also benefits the domestic economy where coal-fired power, including

brown coal in Victoria, accounts for over 70% of electricity generation in the national electricity grid.

Coal-based generation remains the cheapest and most reliable electricity in Australia.


Asian demand for high-quality Australian coal is expected to remain strong with respected industry

analyst Commodity Insights recently forecasting the requirement for up to an additional 500 million

tonnes of coal per annum comprising both thermal and metallurgical coal by 2030.


Australia, however, cannot take the continued industry strength for granted and commercial

challenges remain in the form of on-going supply competition from Indonesia, North America, South Africa and Russia, while lengthy and onerous environmental regulatory processes enforced by State governments could impede future growth and hence forego significant economic benefit.


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