Glencore Xstrata’s 2013 coking coal output up 6% amid falling prices

Swiss commodities major Glencore Xstrata saw 2013 coking coal production climb 6% year-on-year in 2013 to 7.3 million tonnes, while prices for the steelmaking raw material tumbled.

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The miner produced 6.9 million tonnes of coking coal from its Australian assets in 2012, realising an average export price of $146 per tonne, down 26% from average export price levels of $198 per tonne in 2012, the company said in its fourth-quarter 2013 production report published on Tuesday February 11

Glencore Xstrata said the increase in output was mainly due to productivity improvements at its Oaky Creek mine and the resolution of operational issues that affected 2013 output.

‘Production growth was [hit] by decisions to counter [the] low coal price environment, including moving from a dual longwall to a single longwall operation at Oaky North and Collinsville being placed on care and maintainance,’ the company said.

The measures at Collinsville were introduced after a failure to reach an enterprise agreement with the union, Glencore Xstrata said.

Seaborne coking coal prices have fallen further since the beginning of the year, with spot prices for premium hard coking coal dropping to about $128 per tonne in the second week of February, according to Steel First’s daily fob Queensland coking coal index.