The question of coal’s current global status is a tricky one. It’s made up of many parts – coal mining, burning coal for power, or manufacturing, and transporting coal – each with a different story across countries and regions around the world.
Coal mining in Australia is undergoing something of a significant new push, mostly in Queensland and New South Wales, and mostly thermal coal rather than metallurgical coal.
The federal government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) ‘Resources and Energy Quarterly’ posts updates of both historical and predicted future trends for Australia’s resources, including thermal coal.
The March issues of this report include a long term projection of Australia’s exports of coal. Currently, they predict a strong recovery of coal. But it’s clear, once you gather up every annual ‘long term’ projection of coal exports, that this has been continually mis-forecast:
These forecasts depend heavily on demand for thermal coal – if both China and India strengthen their climate ambitions then the forecasts will turn out wrong again.