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Global coal mine gate costs vary considerably. Large opencast operations in the US Powder River Basin can have costs below US$10/t, while deeper pits in Australia can have costs closer to US$50/t. Processing costs make a difference in mine gate cost. Indonesian thermal coal, with its low ash content (below 5%) does not need to be washed; reducing costs by up US$10/t in comparison to Australian and US operations.
Large US producers in the Powder River basin, like Arch Coal and Peabody Energy dominate the first quartile of the cost curve. Major exporting companies such as Glencore, BHP Billiton and Anglo American are in the second and third quartiles: they produce higher quality coal, which is becoming rarer.
Country level average mine gate cash costs reflect the nature of their respective coal industries. For instance the US has high cost operations in the Appalachian basin, however these are offset by their large opencast operation in the powder river basins. Australia is firmly in the second half of the curve, due to its higher strip ratios, and processing costs.
Cost analysis is a hybrid approach which uses proprietary cost estimation models with results reconciled to data obtained from company reported financial statements. Costing methodology quantifies the costs incurred at each stage of production by process through the supply chain from mining through to free-on-board (FOB).
Overall 30 companies have been included, ranging from the large producers, such Peabody Energy, Shenhua Energy, and Glencore, to smaller players, such as Whitehaven and analysis covers over 270 coal operations accounting for over 1,000 Mt of coal production globally.
These costs are calculated to reflect the overall efficiency of each operation. All costs are calculated on an owner-operator basis, thereby eliminating the distortions to the cash cost ranking that contract rates (which include a capital servicing element) would introduce.
The report “Global Coal Mine Gate Cost Curve” provides an coal cost curve for 270 mines, with breakdown of costs into mining, processing, admin, royalties. Specific datasets include: Global Mine Level Cost Costs Global Company Equity Production Costs Country level Production Costs Peabody Cost Curve.
Companies mentioned in this report: Peabody Energy, China Shenhua Energy Co, Arch Coal, Glencore, Alpha Natural Resources, Anglo American, SUEK, China National Coal Group Corporation, BHP Billiton, KZRU, Bumi Resources, South32, Adaro, Yanzhou Coal, Banpu, Rio Tinto, Teck Resources, Exxaro, Mechel, Consol Ene.