Yancoal CEO David Moult told the Australian Financial Review that he believed Europe’s newfound appreciation for Australian thermal coal will likely become entrenched as the Ukraine war convinces the continent to never again become so reliant on a single supplier of energy commodities. Huge profits have allowed Yancoal to move into a net cash-positive position in July. The clearing of Yancoal’s debt comes almost exactly five years after the company acquired Rio Tinto’s coal business in New South Wales (NSW), which now ranks as an outrageous success.
Asian customers, particularly in Japan and South Korea, have traditionally been the biggest customers for Australian thermal coal, but Moult said European customers were now buying as much as 9% of Yancoal’s product, up from 1% last year.
“We haven’t closed our door to acquiring more coal mines,” Moult said. BHP said in June that it wanted to shut its Mt Arthur thermal coal mine in NSW by 2030 under a plan that would keep decades worth of saleable coal in the ground. Yancoal was among the suitors that considered Mt Arthur during the two-year period in which BHP was formally trying to sell it.