Mini mining boom as export earnings hit a record $214b – by John McCarthy (Brisbane Courier-Mail – January 8, 2018)

AUSTRALIA has entered a mini mining boom pushing estimated export earnings for the financial year to a record $214 billion, according to the Federal Government’s Office of the Chief Economist.

That represented an increase of about $3.3 billion and was based on better than expected trading in iron ore and coal. The report also said there were committed projects in Queensland worth $10.2 billion.

Metallurgical coal export volumes may have grown to equal their highest level on record while earnings are likely to be unchanged at about $35.3 billion in 2017-18, but then drop by about $10 billion in 2018-19 as prices fall back.

The report said there was increasing supply of metallurgical coal as producers ramped up idle supply to benefit from strong prices. China was also cutting back on steel production which would impact demand.

However, prices for metallurgical coal remain about $US260 ($331.62) a tonne, well short of a record but well above forecasts and based on bottlenecks at the Dalrymple Bay coal port.

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