As the world’s most populous nation and biggest consumer of coal, China imported 5.4 million metric tons (mt) of metallurgical coal that month—an increase of 116% year-on-year. Australia ranked far behind Mongolia in 2012, but by mid-Q3 2013, it dramatically exceeded Mongolia, despite the landlocked nation’s geographic proximity to China.
In all, Australia’s coking coal exports to China hit 2.58 million mt by February. Canada followed with 1.21 million mt of coal exports to the world’s No. 2 economy, followed by the Russian federation with 527,300 mt, and the U.S. at 408,700 mt. Mongolian exports to China, on the other hand, fell to 336,000 mt by February 2013, a decrease of 76% from January, and 80.7% lower than the same 2012 period.
Mongolia’s coal export decrease to China was largely stemmed from halt in coal supplies from the desert nation’s largest coal mine, Tavan Tolgoi, operated by state-owned Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi. The shipment stoppage was reportedly due to financial troubles. Mongolia is experiencing one of the world’s largest mining-driven economic expansions, drawing thousands to its once-sleepy capital of Ulan Bator.