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Coronado thriving in coal rush


In the wake of the Russia–Ukraine conflict, Coronado Global Resources is receiving additional enquiries from European markets for its metallurgical coal (met coal) product – many of which it can’t satisfy.

Coronado’s Curragh operations in Queensland are operating at full capacity, with existing production exported to long-term customers in India, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

Speaking at Coronado’s 2022 annual general meeting, company chair William Koeck said the miner had “little opportunity” to service extra markets until it has expanded Curragh production.

Coronado’s ‘One Curragh’ expansion plan aims to increase the operation’s production from 11.1 million tonnes (Mt) of coal, which was achieved in the 2020–21 financial year, to 13.5Mt by 2025. This would be done incrementally year-on-year.

The company will increase efficiencies by investing in box cuts to enable higher dragline utilisation and improved strike length. Box cuts will also decrease congestion in existing pits and underpin greater utilisation rates at the coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP).

Coronado also plans to convert four of its fleets at the Curragh North coal mine from contract to dry-hire arrangements, while studies are being completing for a potential underground operation at Curragh.

As Coronado continues to work on the Curragh expansion, Koeck said healthy market conditions were strongly supporting the company’s margins.

“The average hard coking coal index price for Australian met coal increased by 92 per cent in the third quarter of 2021 to $264 per tonne and a further 40 per cent in the fourth quarter to $369 per tonne,” he said.

“Average Australian index prices increased again by 32 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 to $486 per tonne, with the Russia­–Ukraine conflict pushing spot prices to unprecedented levels reaching a peak of $670 per tonne in March.

“While met coal prices are expected to moderate over the course of 2022, we anticipate they will remain elevated above historical averages due to ongoing trade restraints from Russia and China and elevated thermal coal pricing providing a floor for met coal prices.”

Coronado was trading at $2.27 with a market capitalisation of $3.81 billion at the time of writing.

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