Australian Company Investing in U.S. Coal Exports (Platts)
County Coal plans to build US coal terminals for Powder River Basin exports
Australian-listed coal exploration company County Coal announced Tuesday plans to build a $400 million export terminal on the US west coast to establish a viable supply chain to Asian markets for its thermal coal mines in the US state of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
The terminal is proposed for the northwest US on a brownfield industrial site and would be able to accommodate up to 60,000 dwt Panamax vessels after dredging, and is in addition to its previously announced plan for a coal terminal in the west Canadian province of British Colombia, the ASX-listed company said in a statement.
Engineering firm Worley Parsons has recently completed a conceptual and cost study for the US coal terminal, and its location has not been disclosed by County Coal for reasons of “commercial sensitivity,” said the company, although the company said both of its planned terminals were connected by the Canadian and US rail systems to coalfields in Canada.
“The US faces much lower capital operating costs, especially in comparison to Australia,” said County Coal.
The exploration and development company has two wholly-owned thermal coal projects, Shell Creek and Miller, located in the Powder River Basin, which contains 730 million mt of JORC-compliant thermal coal resources.
Powder River coal is very low in ash and sulfur content and has similar calorific value to Indonesian thermal coal and costs only $5-15/short ton to mine, said County Coal.
“The production costs experienced in the Powder River Basin are such that extended transport distances have been proven to be economically viable for coal to be shipped to world markets,” the company said.
No timeline for production startup has been provided by the company which said it does not intend to start any significant work on its PRB coal resource until a viable, cost-efficient export route has been established.
The PRB supplies about 50% of the US thermal coal supply through 12 mines.
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