It’s become fashionable for certain sections of our community to regard coal as one of Australia’s worst enemies. It’s a fallacy – I hope the latest information on coal will be useful to you.
Coal was our largest export in 2018, and it remains the dominant fuel in our energy mix. Total coal exports in the 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. Its benefits include over 150,000 direct and related jobs and rising tax and royalty collections.
Coal royalties provide $5.5 billion directly to 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.