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SA coal exports decline

Loading export coal
at the Richards
Bay coal terminal
Richards Bay, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 05 February 2010 – Exports of South African coal from Richards Bay “’ site of Africa’s largest coal export terminal “’ dropped last month to their lowest level since September last year.

According to the latest data posted on the Richards Bay Coal Terminal website, outbound shipments in January were 4.87 million metric tonnes, the least since September’s 4.16 million tonnes. The terminal exported 4.12 million tonnes in January of last year, and 5.55 million tonnes in December 2009.

The terminal is the biggest source for Europe of coal burned for power, and is owned by South Africa’s largest exporters of the fuel, including BHP Billiton Limited, Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc.

Working on last month’s shipment rate, the Richards Bay terminal will export 58 million tonnes of coal this year. It is due to boost its annual export capacity to 91 million tonnes by the end of this year’s first quarter. Shipments came to 61.14 million tonnes last year.

During January 5.44 million tonnes of coal arrived at the port by rail and stocks rose from a year-low to 2.71 million tonnes, said RBCT. Fifty-three ships docked at the port in January, and 746 trains arrived laden with coal.

Prices for coal shipped through the port fell 3.9% to an average of US$83.40 a tonne in the week to 29 January, according to data from England-based researcher McCloskey Group Ltd.