MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s top coal hauler, Aurizon Holdings Ltd, is on course for a showdown with the world’s biggest coal exporters after a regulator capped the revenue it can charge at A$1 billion ($783 million) less than the company sought.
BHP Billiton, Glencore, Anglo American, Peabody Energy and others face cuts of nearly a tenth of their coal export volumes from Queensland state, the country’s biggest coal exporter, after Aurizon said the tough revenue cap would cut throughput on its network.
The expected drop in coal traffic would be worse than last year’s losses after Cyclone Debbie, which cut exports by 16 million tonnes and sent prices for metallurgical coal, used in steel-making, skyrocketing.
A mine industry body accused the company of using its power as a monopoly rail operator, and urged it to negotiate further with the regulator.
“This is worth A$4 billion in export income and would cost the state government around A$500 million in lost royalties each year,” Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said in a statement.
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