Thursday, January 24, 2008

Australia's Coal Industry

Natural gas use in Australia is relatively small, but it has been growing rapidly in recent years. As a result of expanding consumption in a period of declining production, Australia is facing growing dependence on petroleum imports. Australia has 8.3% of the world’s coal reserves; 42.6 billion tonnes (Bt) of anthracite and 39.5 Bt of lignite. The total of 82 Bt amounts to 236 years of reserves at current production.

Coal is Australia’s largest energy source, supplying 44% of primary energy consumption, followed by oil with 33.4%.

Production of coal in Australia tripled from 127 million tonnes (Mt) in 1981 to 386 Mt in 2006. Australia has substantial domestic consumption, largely for power generation but the market is dominated by exports. Out of 386 Mt produced in 2006, approximately 97 Mt were consumed in Australia and the remaining 79% were exported. Australia is by far the largest coal exporter with 30% of the world’s export trade and Australian producers making extensions to their coal mining capacities.


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