Anglo coal expects prices to remain steady

The chief executive of Anglo American's South African coal unit says he expects coal prices to remain strong, while exports will match last year's despite rail constraints.

The chief executive of Anglo American's South African coal unit says he expects coal prices to remain strong, while exports will match last year's despite rail constraints.

Norman Mbazima said yesterday he expected the price of coal to be about $85 (R615) per ton this year.

Richards Bay Coal Terminal's (RBCT) free on board prices have been about $82 to $85 per ton for the past month.

"Those are exciting prices and we think they will be maintained," Mbazima said during a visit to the company's Landau coal mine in Mpumalanga.

Mbazima said he also expected the company to export about 16million tons of coal, unchanged from last year, despite railing hitches to the export terminal.

Coal exporters have said rail hitches to the RBCT, the continent's largest export terminal, have been blamed for low coal deliveries to the terminal.

The terminal, owned by South Africa's largest exporters of the fuel, including BHP Billiton, Anglo and Xstrata, is serviced by the railway arm of the logistics group Transnet.

Transnet said earlier this year it expected to transport 65million tons of export coal to the port this year and will try to raise that to 70million tons.

Mbazima said the company is seeking to exploit thermal coal opportunities in Indonesia, Australia and Colombia.

"We are looking at global growth opportunities for seaborne market," he said.

He said Anglo Coal plans to increase coal exported to India this year from the 4,9 million tons last year.

Mbazima said the coal producer was also looking to facilitate the development of a power station using its own discarded or waste coal.

The power plant could produce about 300 megawatts of electricity to be used for Anglo's operations in SA, including its platinum and iron ore mines. - Reuters

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