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Commodity price of coal in Australia 1980-2030

One of the leading economic industries in Australia, coal mining has contributed significantly to the local economy. In 2030, Australian coal was projected to cost around 60 U.S. dollars per metric ton.

Coal market

The contribution of the coal mining industry to Australia’s economy was valued at over 40 billion Australian dollars in 2018. Coal consumption is much lower than production in Australia, so most of the mined coal is exported. In fact, Australia exports the most coal by value out of any other country, with major export partners including China and Japan. Australia’s reliance on its mining exports may lead to potential problems, particularly if long-term demand drops due to emerging alternative fuel sources, climate action and increased competition from other coal producing countries. The effect on the tens of thousands of Australian workers in the mining industry may have already been seen, with lower employment numbers recorded recently.

Environmental impact

Of late, the fugitive emissions from coal mining have come under fire due to their contribution to environmental pollution. In Australia, emissions from underground coal mines were estimated to total 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030 – the greatest contributor to greenhouse gases compared to other oil and gas subsectors. With a global focus on reducing air pollution and mitigating climate effects, the future of mining in Australia may not be as certain as it once was.

Commodity price of coal in Australia from 1980 to 2019 with a forecast until 2030

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Release date

October 2020



Survey time period

1980 to 2019

Supplementary notes

* Forecast.

Prices in nominal U.S. dollars. Figures prior to 2018 were taken from previous reports.

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