At 30 June 2017, there were 41 coal mining operations in NSW. During the twelve months to 30 June 2017, two mines opened and three mines closed.
Overall raw and saleable coal production increased following two consecutive years of decline. Total raw coal production from NSW coal mines rose by 2.7 per cent or 6.6 million tonnes to 253.4 million tonnes in the year 2016-17 and saleable coal production rose 3.7 percent or 7.1 million tonnes to 198.2 million tonnes.
While the year 2016-17 saw raw coal production increase by 2.7 per cent, production from NSW underground mines fell 1.8 per cent and production at open cuts rose 4.3 per cent. Raw coal production from the Gunnedah coalfield increased by 10 per cent to a record 31.1 million tonnes. The Gunnedah coalfield has continued to grow and accounted for 12.3 percent of the total raw coal production for the year 2016-17, compared to 3.7 per cent five years ago. The Mudgee-Ulan region also increased raw coal production during the year, rising 15.1 per cent to 41 million tonnes; accounting for 16 per cent of the total raw coal production for the year. The Hunter coalfield still accounts for the majority of raw coal production at 148 million tonnes or 59 per cent of all production. The Newcastle and Southern coalfields continue to see reductions in raw coal production.
NSW coal exports rose for the year 2016-17 following a decline in 2015-16. Shipments increased from 169.6 million exported in the year 2015-16 to 170.2 million tonnes. The FOB value of NSW coal exports rose 37.7 per cent to 18.2 billion Australian dollars. The average FOB value of $106.97 was up $29.05 per tonne from the year 2015-16. The top four markets of Japan (44%), China (15%), Taiwan (14%) and the Republic of Korea (13%) accounted for 86 per cent of the total tonnage exported.
The downward trend of domestic coal sales was reversed in 2015-16 and continued in 2016-17. Overall deliveries to Australian markets increased by 0.3 per cent or 0.1 million tonnes to 26.6 million tonnes to meet the demand from the Australian iron and steel industry. There was a slight drop in sales to the NSW power generation market, however there was a 1.1 per cent increase in coal consumption by these power generators. This increase consumption resulted in a decrease in their stockpile holdings.
The average production employment for the NSW coal industry continued to decline for the fifth consecutive year, falling 340 to 19,858 in 2016-17. However, job growth during the later months of 2016-17 resulted in an overall net job growth for the year of 1,150, taking the production workforce at NSW coal mines up to 20,538 at 30 June 2017.