Market demand for coal


  • API#4 at RBCT increased from $49 to > $80 in 2016/2017
  • Increase on the back of production cutbacks of 500 Mtpa in China
  • Major producers focusing on returns at the expense of volume
  • Increased demand in Asia
  • No greenfields projects on the drawing board
  • International traders bullish on future pricing

The regional market has seen a significant reduction of coal availability with significant price increases during 2016 and 2017. Contributing factors are:

  • The international coal market with Richards Bay Coal Terminal shareholders maximizing export volumes;
  • End of life of producing mines in South Africa generally, with no significant brownfields expansion or greenfield projects under way;
  • Production cut back or closure of marginal mines in South Africa;
  • A 1.8 million tons per annum increase in rail capacity from the South African Waterberg coal fields to Richards Bay Coal Terminal which is diverting more coal into the seaborne thermal coal market, and away from the regional market. This capacity is planned to be further increased by 4.2 million tons per annum;
  • An increase in exports of more than 7 million tons per annum from Richards Bay Coal Terminal is forecast by 2019 due to continued strength of international coal prices.