Coal in Australia

Coal is a cornerstone Australian industry built on the efforts of hard working Australians with the majority in regional areas. It has a strong future which can meet the requirements of a modern economy.

The industry employed around 50,000 workers in 2018 with another 120,000 indirect jobs supported by the coal industry.

In 2018 Australia exported 203 Mt of thermal (energy) coal worth $22.6 billion and 179 Mt of metallurgical (steel-making) coal worth $37.8 billion.

The Australian coal industry paid over $5 billion in royalties in 2017-18, including:

Coal Royalties - 2017 to 2018

The Australian economy continues to rely on coal as a source of affordable, reliable electricity.

The Summer Operations Review from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) showed that coal-fired power generation kept lights and air conditioners on and kept businesses running in Australia during the past summer.

AEMO noted that “the NEM coal generation fleet recorded its fourth-highest summer availability for the past 10 years” and that over the most recent summer, coal-fired power generation produced more than 76 per cent of large scale power generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM), with the next highest being gas at just under 10 per cent.

Coal’s dominance as a reliable source of energy over summer was even clearer in NSW, where 89 per cent of power came from coal. In Queensland it was 85 per cent and Victoria 82 per cent.
Australian coal is in demand for both energy and steel making. Its high-energy, low ash characteristics ideally match the requirements for HELE coal-fired power plants being built throughout Asia, while our high grade metallurgical coals are amongst the best in the world for modern steel making.

Australian coal can also reduce emissions when compared to lower-quality coal from other exporters. Supplier reliability, proximity to key markets and good infrastructure availability puts Australia in a strong position to take advantage of growing demand from existing customers such as Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea as well as newer buyers such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

Coal mining in Australia is a sophisticated and hi-tech activity. Continuous improvements in mining technology, occupational health and safety and environmental performance have ensured that Australia is an efficient and reliable producer of high-quality thermal and metallurgical coals for the international market.

AUSTRALIAN COAL benefits the world because it’s cleaner and more efficient, and helps promote economic development, lifting millions from poverty.


Check out these websites to find out more

Coal21 Logo

COAL21 invests in the development of low-emissions technologies for the coal-fired power generation sector and in emissions reduction from coal mines.

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Minerals Council of Australia - Logo

MCA represents Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry, nationally and internationally, in its contribution to sustainable development and society.

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