Coal sales at Australia’s Whitehaven fall in Jan-Mar

  • : Coal, Coking coal, Metals
  • 24/04/19

Australian coal miner Whitehaven reported higher production but lower sales in January-March, with the firm increasing its percentage of high-grade thermal coal sales from the previous quarter.

Saleable coal volumes rose by 8pc on the year to 3.9mn t but managed coal sales fell by 7pc to 3.8mn t compared to a year earlier. Sales were 83pc high-grade thermal, higher than 72pc in October-December and 68pc a year earlier.

Whitehaven said run-of-mine production at Narrabri was below expectations because of the current panel's geological challenges, leading to reliability and maintenance problems with equipment.

Whitehaven's overall sales guidance for the 2023-24 fiscal year remains unchanged at 16mn-17.5mn t for 2023-24 with a unit cost guidance, excluding royalties, of A$103-113/t ($66-$72/t) which the firm said is tracking at the top end. This is because of lower output from Narrabri, which is tracking below its output guidance of 5.1mn-5.7mn t for the fiscal year to 30 June.

Whitehaven finalised takeovers of Australian-Japanese joint venture BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's (BMA) 12mn t/yr Blackwater and 4mn t/yr Daunia coking and thermal coal mine in Queensland on 2 April, with initial sales and production data to be reported in its April-June production report.

The two mines are anticipated to deliver 4.5mn-5mn t run-of-mine output in April-June, with Whitehaven's revenue breakdown to be 70pc metallurgical and 30pc thermal on an annual basis post-acquisition as it seeks to pivot toward coking coal.

Blackwater and Daunia contributed 10.11mn t and 4mn t respectively to BMA's total output in 2023. Whitehaven plans to sell down a 20pc stake in Blackwater to global steel producers, with a process presently underway.

Whitehaven views the high calorific value (CV) thermal coal market as well supported in its key Asian markets, and said tightening of sanctions on Russian exporters is containing global supply.

India's continuing growth is driving demand and underpinning price sentiment, Whitehaven said, despite a softening in metallurgical coal prices during the quarter .

The Argus high-grade 6,000 kcal/kg NAR price averaged $126.74/t fob Newcastle and the 5,500 kcal/kg NAR coal price $93.85/t during January-March, compared with $134.23/t and $96.80/t respectively for October-December.

Whitehaven quarterly results
Jan-Mar '24Oct-Dec '23Jan-Mar '23
Volumes (mn t)
Managed coal production3.94.23.6
Managed coal sales3.84.74.1
Managed coal stocks at period end11.51.5
Coal sales mix (%)
High-grade thermal coal837268
Other thermal coal81926
Metallurgical coal996
Prices achieved ($/t)136142280
Thermal coal136142280
Metallurgical coal213166234

Australian coal price comparisons ($/t)

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24/05/22

ThyssenKrupp Schulte to close seven sites: sources

ThyssenKrupp Schulte to close seven sites: sources

London, 22 May (Argus) — ThyssenKrupp Schulte will close seven sites as part of its restructuring drive, market sources told Argus today. The company will close stockholding warehouses in Braunschweig, Rheine, Munich, Nuremberg, Freiberg, Mannheim and Frankfurt, according to multiple market sources. Last month the company said it would be closing sites and cutting around 450 jobs, but did not reveal which sites would be affected. "Fundamental structural adjustments are necessary to better respond to market changes in the future", the company said when it announced the restructuring, citing declining materials demand and increasing demand for materials-related services. All the impacted locations are stockholding sites and do not provide additional processing. ThyssenKrupp Schulte is part of ThyssenKrupp Materials Services and distributes stainless, carbon and non-ferrous metals from around 40 locations. A ThyssenKrupp Materials Services spokesperson said it could not comment on the affected locations, as "discussions with the respective co-determination bodies have only just begun and the details of the transformation are the subject of these discussions". "At ThyssenKrupp Schulte we are aiming to transform the business model in order to increase the company's profitability and enable Schulte to respond even better to changing customer needs," the spokesperson added. By Colin Richardson Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Lower fuel costs lift Indian cement producers' margins


24/05/21
24/05/21

Lower fuel costs lift Indian cement producers' margins

Singapore, 21 May (Argus) — Lower prices of petroleum coke and thermal coal, the two key fuels used in producing cement, helped raise margins at Indian cement producers over January-March compared with a year earlier. India's largest cement producer Ultratech increased its January-March profit by more than 35pc from a year earlier to a record 22.58bn rupees ($271mn) because of subdued kiln fuel costs. The company's blended coke and coal fuel costs for the quarter fell to $150/t, down by 22.7pc from a year earlier. Ultratech's overall energy costs for cement during the quarter fell by 21pc from a year earlier to Rs1,025/t, with total power and fuel costs down by nearly 9pc to Rs48.39bn. Fuel typically accounts for about a third of cement production costs. The Argus cfr India 6.5pc sulphur coke assessment averaged $116.50/t in the quarter ended 31 March, down by nearly 32pc from the year-earlier average of $170.92/t. This price was last assessed at $109.50/t on 15 May. Thermal coal prices were also lower from a year earlier across most origins. Ultratech sold 35.08mn t of cement during January-March, up by 11pc on a year earlier. Higher cement sales typically boost coke and thermal coal consumption as cement producers use these as fuel in kilns. Industry participants were able to realise a higher profit despite a lower cement price during January-March, primarily because of a cushion from the reduced fuel costs. Ultratech realised Rs5,170/t of cement for January-March, down by 3.8pc from the year earlier and 6pc lower from October-December. Fellow producer Shree Cement raised its sales by 8pc from a year earlier to 8.83mn t over January-March. But the firm realised Rs4,721/t of cement during January-March, down by 3pc from a year earlier. Lower fuel costs helped it to boost the latest quarter's profits by 21pc from the previous year to Rs6.62bn. Fuel costs eased by 28pc to Rs1.82/unit. Shree expects fuel prices to remain stable in the coming months. Cement prices in key markets fell by an average 7.5pc over January-March from the previous quarter, while exit prices in March were lower by 9-10pc compared with average rates for the same period, said cement producer Dalmia Bharat. The price drop during January-March was far more than what the firm had seen in similar period in any previous year. Cement producers resorted to price cuts to gain more market in the latest quarter with rising production capacity. But cement demand growth is expected to outpace the rate of capacity additions in the coming years. The industry is expected to grow capacity at a compounded growth rate of 7-8pc/yr in the next few years, said Adani, which owns and operates listed cement companies Ambuja Cement and ACC. The group forecasts India's cement demand to grow at 8-9pc/yr over the next five years. Adani's power and fuel costs fell by 13pc from a year earlier to Rs1,219/t during January-March. A high share of coal from domestic captive mines and opportunities to buy imported coke will further lower its fuel costs, the company said. Ambuja doubled its January-March profit from a year earlier to Rs15.26bn. Firmer April-June outlook Lower priced coke cargoes purchased during January-March are expected to help cement producers partly offset the impact of pressured cement realisation for April-June, said a market participant. Cement prices remain weak as demand is affected because of India's 19 April-1 June general elections . Cement plants typically hold fuel inventories of 60-90 days, including supplies in the pipeline and cargoes on the water. The full benefit of reduced fuel prices comes with a lag of up to three months. This is especially true of coke cargoes coming from the US where the transit time is around 45 days. By Ajay Modi Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan’s Kobelco to shut basic oxygen furnace, build EAF


24/05/21
24/05/21

Japan’s Kobelco to shut basic oxygen furnace, build EAF

Tokyo, 21 May (Argus) — Japan's Kobe Steel (Kobelco) will close one of the two basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs) at its Kakogawa steel works, looking to replace it with an electric arc furnace (EAF). Kobelco will invest ¥300bn ($1.9bn) to accelerate reducing greenhouse gas emissions by introducing a new EAF, the company said on 20 May as part of its mid-term strategy for the 2024-26 fiscal years. This will result in a closure of a BOF at Kakogawa. It will finalise the decision for introducing an EAF in the early part of its 2024-26 mid-term strategy period, Kobelco said, aiming to start producing crude steel with scrap metal sometime during the 2030s. Kobelco produced 5.9mn t of crude steel during the 2023-24 fiscal year ending 31 March, down by 3.5pc from the previous year. It forecasts producing around 6mn t during 2024-25, according to data separately announced by Kobelco on 9 May. The company did not disclose the production of each BOF at Kakogawa. This is the latest major Japanese steel firm that specialises in BOF production to announce proposed EAF operations, following Nippon Steel and JFE. Nippon Steel started commercial operations in 2022, while JFE plans to start in 2027. Kobelco's switch to EAF production will lead to further concerns about scarcity of scrap in Japan . The supply shortage could be as high as 5mn t in 2030 and 11mn t in 2050, according to a 2022 report by the country's trade and industry ministry. By Yusuke Maekawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Southeast Asian steel demand to rise in 2024: Seaisi


24/05/21
24/05/21

Southeast Asian steel demand to rise in 2024: Seaisi

Shanghai, 21 May (Argus) — The Southeast Asia Iron and Steel Institute (Seaisi) estimates that southeast Asian countries' steel demand will grow by 3.7pc from 2023 to 76.5mn t in 2024. But the growth rate fell below previous expectations considering high global inflation risks, volatile prices and a demand slowdown in China and many other regions, the institute said at the 2024 Seaisi conference in Vietnam held over 13-16 May. Steel demand in the six major countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean-6) fell by 1.9pc from 2022 to 73.5mn t in 2023, Seaisi said. Asean-6's steel production also dropped by 2.1pc on the year to 49.4mn t in 2023, in line with contracting demand. Asean-6's net imports slid by 1.3pc on the year to 24.3mn t in 2023. Lower external demand, high inflation and interest rates as well as tightening global financial markets were the main reasons for steel industrial setbacks last year. It led to a slowdown in construction sectors and steel industrial destocking activities in the region. Steel demand in Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam fell by 14pc, 7.5pc and 4.8pc respectively in 2023, weighing on regional industrial performance although demand rose by 18pc in Singapore and 6.3pc in Indonesia, Seaisi said. Thailand's steel demand edged down by 0.1pc in 2023. Asean regional steel demand was expected to increase in 2024 because Asean-6 governments were optimistic about achieving their economic growth targets, given strong private consumption in most countries, the rolling out of infrastructure and construction projects, a recovery in tourism and electronics, and as inflation rates move towards targeted ranges. But the region will continue to experience challenges from supply chain uncertainties on the back of escalating geopolitical tensions and wars, weakening Asean currencies except for the Singapore dollar, economic slowdowns outside of Asean, volatile commodity prices, and extreme weather, Seaisi said. Seaisi did not provide a forecast for regional steel production in 2024, but it sees steel capacity expansions in the region leading to overcapacity issues. It expects Asean-6 crude steel capacity to rise from 78mn t/yr in 2022 to 94mn t/yr in 2024. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Roy Hill's WA iron ore loadings support WA exports


24/05/20
24/05/20

Roy Hill's WA iron ore loadings support WA exports

London, 20 May (Argus) — Iron ore shipments by the four largest producers in Western Australia (WA) rose in the week to 18 May on the back of a rebound of Roy Hill's volumes as the company completed routine quarterly maintenance. Rio Tinto's shipments ticked up too despite a derailment on its rail line. The four largest Pilbara iron ore producers — BHP, Fortescue, Rio Tinto and Roy Hill — loaded vessels with a combined capacity of 17.10mn dwt, up from 16.63mn dwt in the week to 11 May. The dwt capacity is the maximum capacity of a vessel and overestimates actual shipments by about 5pc. Rio Tinto's shipments reached 6.14mn dwt from 5.81mn dwt the previous week. This is below the 2024 average of 6.44mn dwt.There was a derailment on the rail line heading to Rio Tinto's Dampier facilities last Monday. "We have reopened our dual train line 80km from Karratha following a rail incident on Monday, with the first train travelling on one of the repaired lines on Friday and the second line reopening on Saturday," the company said. Roy Hill's exports jumped to 795,000 dwt from 208,000 dwt the previous week as the company appears to have completed its quarterly maintenance. But the volumes remain below the average of 1.25mn dwt. BHP's volumes ticked down to 5.88mn dwt from 6.22mn dwt the previous week. Fortescue's iron ore loadings edged lower to 4.29mn dwt but were still well above the rolling average of 3.74mn dwt. Overall iron ore shipments from WA increased to 48.95mn dwt during the 1-19 May period from 47.81mn dwt in the same period last year, provisional shipping data indicate. Shipments to China rose to 42.27mn dwt from 39.51mn dwt across the same timeframe. Spot freight costs have stepped down in recent weeks as demand has decreased. Capesize freight rates — for loading on 4-7 June — on the bellwether WA to north China route fell to $10.40/t today from the most recent peak of $11.95/t on 8 May. By Andrey Telegin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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