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Issue #1471      8 September 2010

Massive surge in coal and iron ore earnings

Earnings from Australia’s resources sector will continue to boom and reap windfall record profits for mining companies, according to the latest report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Research and Resource Economics (ABARE).

While earnings from all major commodities are surging, coal and iron ore are the big winners, returning to their pre-global financial crisis mega profit levels.

According to the ABARE report, total coal export earnings will rise from $35.7 billion to $50.3 billion in the next year.

Metallurgical coal goes from $23.5 billion to $34.5 billion.

Thermal coal goes from $12.2 billion to $15.8 billion.

Iron ore goes from $31.7 billion in 2009-10 to $47.7 billion in 2010-11.

The sheer dimension of this surge in coal earnings can be judged by comparing these huge figures with those of the 1990s and earlier this decade when export earnings were closer to $10 billion a year.

The surge in coal profits was also underlined in an analysis by global energy consultant Wood Mackenzie that says coal companies operating in Australia will earn $97.1 billion in profits between July 2012 and 2016.

The analysis is based on 140 foreign and Australian-owned mines.

The Wood Mackenzie report also showed that global coal prices have jumped by up to 55 percent this year.

Figures recently released by the Australian Treasury show that in the space of just 12 months resources profits soared from a massive $40 billion to $91billion in 2009.

Common Cause, journal of Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU (Aug/Sep 2010)  

Next article – Australian native species face extinction crisis

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