Impact of China’s brutal coal ban revealed

Australia's coal trade with China has plummeted from more than $1 billion a month to just $30 million in the first months of the year, as shocking new figure reveal the depth of Beijing's economic wrath.

No Australian coal has cleared customs there since November, The Courier-Mail understands, while there remain more than 30 ships stocked with millions of tonnes of coal, much of which is from Queensland, stranded off the Chinese coast without approval to dock.

Mining giant BHP has raised the issue of China's restrictions directly with the government in its pre-budget submission.

Hay Point Coal Terminal. Picture: Caitlan Charles
Hay Point Coal Terminal. Picture: Caitlan Charles

Industry sources say there are no new coal sales going ahead with Chinese companies, with the $30 million a month in trade still trickling through since December - just 3 per cent of what it was - coming from the tail end of long-term contracts.

While most of the coal has been redirected to other markets, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and Korea, the price is often as low as $80 a tonne less than the premium paid by China.

It is a big blow for Queensland, which sold about a third of its coal exports to the Asian superpower.

Last year the state's budget revealed royalties from coal had dropped about $2 billion to $1.6 billion, but it had been forecasting it would bounce back again this year.

Read the full article published in the Fraser Coast Chronicle 27th April 2021