At the end of the 2015-16 financial year, overall raw coal production had fallen for the second consecutive year after eleven years of unprecedented growth. However; the end of the first quarter of the financial year 2016-17 shows raw coal production up by 2.4 per cent (1.5 million tonnes) when compared to the same period in 2015.
During the three months to 30 September 2016, one open cut mine closed, one underground mine opened and a new longwall commenced production. At the end of the period there were 42 coal mines operating in NSW – 22 were open cut and 20 were underground mines with 14 longwall operations.
Overall raw coal production for the September 2016 Quarter of 64.6 million tonnes and was up 2.4 per cent when compared to the same period in 2015. The Quarter also improved on tonnages won for the preceding two quarters where the March 2016 Quarter recorded 62.0 million tonnes and the June 2016 Quarter recorded 61.7 million tonnes.
At a regional level, the Western coalfield enjoyed a 21.8 per cent increase when comparing the 12.9 million tonnes produced in the September 2016 Quarter with the June 2016 Quarter.
Raw coal production in the Hunter coalfield rose 2.6 per cent over the same period to 37.5 million tonnes. The 7.2 million tonnes recorded from the Gunnedah coalfield was down slightly on the June 2016 quarter when 7.3 million tonnes were won. Production from the Newcastle and Southern coalfields remained steady.
Production employment is defined as all persons working in or about the coal mine or coal preparation plant, pertaining to its operation, whether employed by the mine owner/operator or by a contractor. At 30 September 2016 production employment in NSW had fallen one per cent to 19,185 mineworkers (full-time equivalent workers) from 30 June 2016.
67 per cent of the workforce was employed directly by the owner/operator of the mine and 33 per cent were contractors.
43 million tonnes of NSW coal was shipped to 19 countries during the September 2016 Quarter. Japan continues to be NSW’s largest export market accounting for 43 per cent of total exports.
The FOB value of NSW coal exports for the September 2016 Quarter was $3.4 billion Australian dollars. The average FOB value per tonne for the period of $78.93 was slightly up against the previous two quarters for 2016.