19th Australia – Taiwan Joint Energy & Minerals, Trade and Investment Cooperation Consultation


Ms Sewell and Dr Ou, Co- Chairs, ladies and gentlemen,

Australia has a long-established reputation as the main supplier of high quality metallurgical and thermal coals to Asian customers, and particularly to our long-standing and very important customers in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Taking into account our country’s vast coal reserves and our established and planned rail and port infrastructure capacities, Australia will continue to be a reliable source of export supply for the foreseeable future.

Of course, the international coal industry is highly competitive. So to secure this future, Australia’s coal industry must continually improve its productivity and cost competitiveness.

The industry also knows that it must play its part in reducing the emissions-intensity of coal production and use. It is doing just that, as I will outline shortly. But let me first provide some industry context focussed on Australia’s coal export industry.

[slide 2] An industry snapshot

Australia ranks as the world’s fourth largest producer of black coal with estimated production of about 400 million tonnes in 2012-13. About 80 per cent of that production is exported.

The export industry is based on large, high quality black coal resources of around 54 billion tonnes. This is equivalent to over 135 years of production based on current levels of extraction. Despite increased production over the past five years, Australia’s coal reserves-to-production ratio has not changed markedly. This is due to a substantial increase in Australian coal industry exploration activity.

Virtually all of Australia’s coal exports come from the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales. And almost 95 per cent of current exports come from just two basins – the Sydney Basin in New South Wales, which is best known for thermal coal exports, and the Bowen Basin in Queensland, which is famous for its hard coking and thermal coals.

Despite great growth potential in other basins, these two basins are expected to continue to supply more than 80 per cent of Australia’s exports in 2020.

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