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Decade-high thermal coal prices drive New Hope

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New Hope Group chief executive officer Reinhold Schmidt has credited rising Newcastle 6000 Index coal prices for pushing the company into a stronger financial position.

According to Schmidt, the Newcastle 6000 Index hit 10-year highs with the price almost doubling since the start of the year.

“The Newcastle 6000 Index hit 10-year highs by financial year end, rapidly recovering from the depressed market conditions experienced at the start of the financial year,” Schmidt said.

“The company achieved an average realised price of $101.36/tonne in 2021. At 31 July 2021, the Newcastle 6000 Index had almost doubled from January 2021 levels, to $US150 ($206.76)/tonne, and has continued to trend upwards.”

New Hope delivered a net profit after tax of $79 million in the 2020-21 financial year after being at a loss of $157 million in the previous period.

“The company also benefited from reduced underlying free on board cash costs of $63.70 as a result of cost savings implemented at both Bengalla and New Acland, and the rationalisation of the Brisbane corporate office,” Schmidt said.

New Hope has declared a final dividend of $0.07 per share with its full year dividend at $0.11 per share. Despite the positive financial results, the company’s produced 9.6 million tonnes of saleable coal, down on the 11.3 million tonnes it achieved in the previous year.

This was caused by a midlife shutdown of the dragline at the Bengalla open cut coal mine in New South Wales for scheduled maintenance. The dragline has since returned to full production.

Schmidt said ongoing uncertainty of approvals for the New Acland stage three expansion in Queensland has continued to impact New Hope’s business.

“Production has steadily declined at New Acland as existing extraction areas are exhausted and the site moves towards care and maintenance at the end of the 2021 calendar year,” he said.

“The workforce at New Acland is doing an outstanding job in the meantime, continuing to safely produce quality coal and expertly managing the ongoing rehabilitation

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