Global export thermal coal costs vary considerably. However thermal coal quality also vary, with low quality Indonesia coal dominating that first quartile of the curve, while higher quality Australia thermal coal is in the second half of the curve. Processing costs make a difference in total FOB 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.
Low strip ratios will ensure most operations have low mining costs per tonne. Indeed strip ratios are often the determinant for whether an export thermal coal deposit is economically feasible. Many high cost thermal coal mines, have higher strip ratios particularly in Australia. Russian operations have low mine gate costs, but then the transportation costs (often rail) over vast distances to Far East ports significantly bring up their FOB Costs.
Cost analysis is a hybrid approach which uses proprietary cost estimation models with results reconciled to data obtained from company reported financial statements. Relative mining and processing cost differentials between mines are largely a function of the size and scale of the operation, process methods, energy and in-country labour costs, and the operating efficiency of the site.
This 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). 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.
Onsite costs pertain to the production costs borne by the miner to extract and process mined material for sale, whether into a concentrate, direct ship ore or saleable product.
• Mining costs, the cost of extracting the run of mine ore from the deposit.
• Process costs pertain to the site operations which extract and/or beneficiate ROM.
• Administration costs are calculated as a percentage of onsite costs and thus can be considered a “loose approximation”.
‘Offsite’ Costs the offsite costs are the costs associated with bringing the product to market, which occur beyond the mine gate. These costs include:
• Land Transport
• Port Charge
The report “Global Export Thermal Coal Cost Curve” provides an coal cost curve for 180 mines, with breakdown of costs into mining, processing, admin, land transport, port charges and royalties. Specific datasets include: Global Mine Level Cost Costs Global Company Equity Production Costs Country level Production Costs Glencore Cost Curve SUEK Cost Curve Anglo American 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