Coal, Commodities, Finance, News, Production

Whitehaven rides coal express to new record


Whitehaven Coal enjoyed an average coal price of $315 per tonne during the March quarter, representing a record price outcome for the miner.

It comes as sustained economic sanctions on Russia continue to curb one of the world’s biggest coal exporters, while an Indonesian export ban in January also fanned the flame.

The Northern Hemisphere has braved a particularly cold winter as well which has increased the demand for thermal coal.

In the March quarter of 2021, Whitehaven was selling coal at an average of $101 per tonne, a time when Australia was feeling the pinch of China’s coal import ban while more and more noise surrounded the renewable energy transition.

However, with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar still finding their feet, it only takes one cold winter for coal to come roaring back.

Whitehaven managing director and chief executive officer Paul Flynn said his company had a busy quarter influenced by ongoing COVID disruptions.

“Coal prices increased to record levels during the March quarter and remain very well supported in an environment of strong demand and constrained supply,” he said.

“A tight labour market, COVID-related absenteeism, and wet weather events slowed operations and disrupted rail and port activities.

“Despite this drag on production and sales, we are on track to deliver 2022 financial year (FY22) guidance.”

Whitehaven produced 5.2 million tonnes (Mt) of run-of-mine (ROM) coal in the March quarter, up 62 per cent on the December quarter but down five per cent from the prior corresponding period (March quarter of 2021).

Saleable coal production (4.5Mt) was up 50 per cent on the December quarter and up five per cent from the prior corresponding period.

Whitehaven’s FY22 guidance for ROM coal production is between 19 and 20.5Mt. To achieve this, the company said it will need to lift its June quarter ROM production to between 5.4 and 6.9Mt.

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