U.S. Rivals Australian Coal Exports (ABC News)
US a threat to Hunter coal exports
An Australian coal industry analyst says Hunter Valley mining companies are closely watching the United States as a potential export rival for thermal coal.
The local industry is still feeling the impacts of a slump in thermal coal prices over the past eight months but is confident the sector will emerge from the slump in a strong position.
Increased competition has been blamed for much of the price drop, with the United States gaining ground as a supplier of coal to Europe and Asia.
Coal economist Dr Donald Barnett says Australia’s operations are aware of the threat.
“If the US did get a good rail terminal connection coming out of Washington State, that would be a real threat for Australia, because strangely enough, Washington State and also the Canadians are actually closer to Japan than Australia is,” he said.
But Dr Barnett says the US faces some barriers.
“Fortunately for us, the topography is proving a bit more difficult and also the Washington State folk are very, very environmentally conscience,” he said.
“And rightly or wrongly, not at all happy about a lot of barge traffic coming down their river system.”
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