Coal

  • Australia is the world’s largest exporter of metallurgical coal and second largest for thermal coal.
  • Coal accounts for around two-thirds of electricity generation in Australia, where one tonne of coal powers the average Australian household for approximately four months.
  • About 800 kilograms of metallurgical coal is needed to produce one tonne of steel.

Coal formations have different physical and chemical properties that affect their overall energy content and efficiency in different applications. As such, coal is not a standard product and even coal from a single seam can vary in quality.

Coal is generally classified into two categories: thermal and metallurgical coal. Thermal, or steaming, coal is largely used in electricity generation and cement production. Metallurgical, or coking, coal typically has a higher energy content and fewer impurities, such as sulfur and ash, and is mainly used in steel production.

The coal industry makes an important contribution to the Australian economy. It employs more than 37,000 people and generates export revenues of around $42 billion. Reflecting our large resource base, coal accounts for two-thirds of Australia’s electricity generation, where it provides a reliable and low-cost form of energy. It is also

Coal continues to play an important part in the world’s energy and manufacturing mix, where it remains an affordable and reliable source for baseload power generation and an essential ingredient in steel.

Australia plays an important role in coal export markets, where we are viewed as a reliable and secure supplier of high quality coal.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, accounting for almost 60 per cent and 20 per cent of global metallurgical coal and thermal coal trade. Coal is our second largest export commodity after iron ore and the sector is a major employer in regional towns. The majority of coal in Australia is produced in Queensland and New South Wales. Australia’s major coal export markets are Japan, China, India, Korea and Taiwan.

ACARP—The Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program

The department, on behalf of the Australian Government, administers a memorandum of understanding with the coal industry to deliver the Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program, ACARP. The ACARP research program covers a wide range of activities relating to the production and use of Australian coal. It is 100 per cent industry owned and funded through a 5 cent per tonne levy on saleable black coal.

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