Global anthracite supply is falling significantly short of demand, according to Atrum Coal, which is developing the Groundhog anthracite project in British Columbia, resulting in prices significantly higher that those for Queensland hard coking coal.
“The premium in anthracite pricing has remained throughout the coking coal cycle and, as metallurgical coals increase in price due to supply/demand imbalances, anthracite has maintained and, in some cases improved, its relative price position,” Atrum said in a recent ASX release.
Anthracite lumps are currently fetching around US$150 per tonne (CFR Northern Europe), while anthracite fines fetch US$100 per tonne (CFR Northern Europe) compared to around US$95 per tonne for Queensland hard coking coal.
Looking ahead, Atrum sees long-term average prices of US$189 per tonne for lumps and US$128 per tonne for fines.
Supply of high-grade anthracite has fallen to below 20 million tpa, according to Atrum, as a result of Vietnam withdrawing from the export market and difficulties surrounding Ukrainian supply. Atrum expects demand of over 70 million t, however, by 2020.
Demand for high-grade anthracite comes not just of the steel industry but from speciality markets, such as water filtration, electric arc furnaces, chemical production, plastics manufacture and for conversion into synthetic graphite.
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.