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Excel Coal forecasts booming coal production

<p>Australian coalminer Excel Coal has forecast major coal production increases next year due to renewed interest from Japan, Korea and Taiwan and continuing demand from China and India.</p> <p>Excel Coal managing director Tony Haggarty said yesterday (Thursday, November 4) that coal production will increase by 20.9% in the first quarter of next year compared with the same time in 2004.</p> <p>This is an increase from 1.267m tonnes to 1.044m tonnes.</p> <p>Mr Haggarty said Japan, Korea and Taiwan have turned back to Australia as a long-term reliable supplier, with strong infrastructure. </p> <p>The company believes its ambitious expansions will be supported by the growth of export coking coal markets, driven by steel demand in China, India and Brazil.</p> <p>"Australia will continue to dominate seaborne coal trade due to the quality of its coals, favourable geology, proximity of large resources close to tidewater, highly productive mines, established infrastructure and political stability," Mr Haggarty said.</p> <p>Excel Coal has formally acquired 25% of HunterCoal Pty Ltd to increase itsinterest in Wambo to 75%.</p> <p>It has also progressed the Wambo Rail project, and the UG mine development project.</p> <p>The company will also double its 90% owned Chain Valley operations to 700,000 tonnes a year, in the second half of this financial year.</p> <p>The company has agreed to acquire a 51% interest in Millennium Coal Pty Ltd which is developing the Moranbah hard coking coal project and which holds three other coal mines in Queensland.</p> <br />