Friday, November 16, 2007

Australian Coal Industry

New South Wales and Queensland produce nearly 97% of Australia's saleable output of black coal, as well as 100% of Australia's black coal exports.

The chief mining areas in New South Wales include the Hunter River and Newcastle areas with high volatile (> 30%) steaming and soft coking coal. To this, must be added the Southern coal field with low-volatile (22–25%) coking and the Western and Gunnedah coalfield with high-volatile steaming coal. In Queensland, the Bowen Basin, with low to medium-volatile (18–28%) coking and steaming coal, but also anthracite (12–18%) semi-soft coking coal, is of outstanding importance. On top of this come the Moreton and Tarong basins with high volatile steaming coal. Australian hard coal is mainly rich in ash and requires preparation. It is usually low in sulphur (<>

In 2001, 93 hard coal mines were operated, including 52 in New South Wales and 41 in Queensland; of these, 15 mines mainly extracted coal for domestic needs and 78 for exports. Some 146 Mt (57%) of hard coal was mined in opencast pits and 110 Mt (43%) in underground mines (Queensland and New South Wales) totalling some 266 Mt in 2001. The chief producing states were New South Wales with 113 Mt and Queensland with 143 Mt. Minor levels of approximately ten Mt output in Tasmania, Southern and Western Australia served the country’s own needs. Some 153 Mt of total output was steaming coal and 113 Mt coking coal.

In 2001, the New South Wales- and Queensland based coal industry, which mostly exports, had a headcount of 18,862; with total output of 256 Mt for the two states, productivity is 13,572 t/man per year. Here, the performance achieved in underground mines of approximately 10,300 t/man per year lagged behind that of opencast pits with 14,200 t/man per year.


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