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Coal projected to be Australia's top export in 2018-19

Australia's coal exports are projected to reach A$58.1 billion in 2018-19, usurping iron ore as the country's top export earner for the first time in nearly 10 years amid high prices and surging demand from Asia, The Australian reported July 2.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan told Australian media that the forecast from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science underpins the case for Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s proposed Carmichael coal mine and the development of Queensland's Galilee Basin.

"At current prices we'd be mad not to open up the Galilee Basin as soon as possible," Canavan said. He also called on Australia's Labor party to ease its "war on coal."

Thermal coal exports reached a record of A$23 billion in 2017-18, up 20% year over year, and are projected to remain steady over the next 12 months before easing the following year, the report said. Metallurgical coal exports also had a strong showing, reaching A$35.4 billion in 2018-19, down from the record high of $38 billion in 2017-18, the report said.

World trade in metallurgical coal is projected to grow 5.1% in 2018 to 334 million tonnes, bolstered by a recovery in Australian exports and strong global steel output, The Australian reported. Australia is expected to account for 58% of the seaborne market by 2020, with India set to become the largest importer of metallurgical coal within two years.