Coal mining entity, Minergy, anticipates global coal prices remaining elevated, though at lower levels than what was experienced over the last 12 months.
These lower levels would be because outright crisis-buying from Europe is said to have slowed down as their winter was not as cold as had been expected and many European countries having healthy stockpiles.
According to a market update prepared by Minergy’s CEO, Morné du Plessis, this week, worldwide coal supply is diminishing with global investment into coal mines significantly reducing, contributing to a general shortage of supply which was exacerbated and highlighted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. For this reason, he says, Minergy is continuing to experience interest and demand for its product range, locally and internationally.
“Our objective is to secure additional long-term export seaborne offtake agreements now that the logistics and coal qualities have been established,” du Plessis says. “At the same time, we assess funding options, including inquiries to place approved equity, to reduce debt and consider expansion opportunities.” But the advent of increased interest has created another challenge for Minergy. Du Plessis says availability of logistics has become a key challenge for the company and its customers.
“Commodity suppliers and customers increasingly rely on trucking products to ports and end users, creating a scramble for trucks, in the absence of rail,” he says. “Due to Minergy being an early entrant, we have managed this, but it remains challenging in the wake of further disappointing Transnet performances.” The past six months were fruitful for Minergy because sales have averaged close to 68,000 tonnes per month, which includes the general December shutdown period downtime. “Volumes are roughly 53 percent higher, while pricing has been exceptional and approximately 66 percent higher than the comparative six-month period,” says du Plessis.
For these six months, he notes in his market update, roughly the same volume of coal was sold during the entire 2021 financial year and sales have already reached 70 percent of the full 2022 financial year volumes. About one-third of Minergy coal is exported through the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. This is the most preferred route by Minergy for seaborne exports despite previous railings through Mozambique, which the company says have not gained traction and remain uneconomical.
Du Plessis says during the six-month period, the company successfully delivered coal to three vessels while deliveries are in transit for a fourth vessel by the close of the six-month period. “These vessels are all bound for Europe,” he notes. “This amounts to the successful loading and dispatching of six vessels (ranging from 30,000 to 55,000 tonne capacity), since March 2022.” According to du Plessis, to minimise risk and manage cash flows, the Incoterms basis for sales transactions was changed from Free on Board (FOB) to Free on Truck (FOT) or Ex-Works.