Whitehaven sees little sign of coal market rebound

Whitehaven Coal’s chairman Mark Vaile said there is currently little sign of a market rebound in coal prices and it is “clearly difficult” to predict future coal prices.

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However, “forward markets are showing improving prices and there is the prospect of renewed demand growth from China in early 2013”, he told investors in a briefing on Thursday November 1.

The benchmark price of Whitehaven’s Newcastle semi-soft coking coal has fallen to about $115 per tonne fob Australia in the December quarter, compared with $140 per tonne for the September quarter.

The company recently received government approvals for the development of its Maules Creek semi-soft coking coal project, which is expected to begin production by the first quarter of 2014 with capacity of 10.8 million tpy.

During the fiscal year ended June 30, Whitehaven produced a total of 1.2 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and it expects the volume to grow to 10.7 million tonnes in 2017.