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New Hope Group has flagged that the monthly average thermal coal price at its New South Wales operations has increased by 78 per cent since September 2020.

The company aimed to establish demand in new markets following China’s ban of Australian coal last year.

The current price of Newcastle’s thermal coal sits at over $120 per tonne after it had dropped to around $50 per tonne last year.

New Hope owns 80 per cent the Bengalla Mining Company in New South Wales under a joint venture (JV) with Taipower.

The JV operates a single open cut coal mine that is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bengalla’s quarterly run-of-mine (ROM) coal production was 2.8 per cent lower than the previous quarter at 2.3 million tonnes.

This was due to wet weather the state endured in March 2020.

However, Bengalla’s coal sales were 5 per cent higher at 2.58 million tonnes in New South Wales at an average price of $105.41 per tonne compared with $87.42 in the previous quarter.

New Hope’s New Acland coal mine in Queensland produced 5.4 per cent less coal than the prior quarter.

The company expects final coal to be extracted in late October or early November 2021 as the future of the site remains up in the air due to the stalled approval of its stage 3 expansion.

A New South Wales Land Court Hearing on the approval is scheduled for November 2021, with the mine to be placed on care and maintenance until an outcome is reached.

In March, New Acland chief executive officer Reinhold Schmidt said further redundancies at New Acland will occur when stage 2 coal is exhausted.

“Redundancies continue as a result of nearing final stage two coal at New Acland,” Schmidt said.

“Despite the ongoing delays, brought about by a handful of vocal activists, the company remains committed to push for the approval of stage 3.”