Export Markets

The unique properties of New Zealand coal are highly valued by major steel mills, coke makers, power utilities, industrial processors, and specialist applications (silicon metal and activated carbon) and supplied to markets all over the world.

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Our customers are the world’s major steel makers in Japan, India, South Africa, South America, China and Australia.

The world’s largest steel producers

While New Zealand’s share of the world coal trade is small, our coal is valued internationally for its special qualities, particularly its low ash and sulphur content, its suitability for steel making and its high heating value. Solid Energy now has the world’s major steel makers as customers in Japan, South Africa, India, China and Australia.

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Coal exports

Export coal sales in 2011 were 2.0 million tonnes (Mt) (2010: 1.7 Mt), below plan as damage to ship loading infrastructure at Lyttelton Port of Christchurch following the June earthquakes pushed a number of shipments out of the 2011 year.

India remains our biggest export market. Sales to India, China and Japan increased in 2011, while sales to South Africa remained similar to last year.

Steel making

80% of our export sales are coking coals for steel making. For more information about how coal is used to make steel, see our fact sheet Coal for making steel (PDF, 202 KB).