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UPDATE 1-Macarthur Coal Resumes Australia Coal Shipments
Mar 29,2010 08:47CST
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PERTH, Mar. 29 -- Macarthur Coal Ltd (MCC.AX: Quote), the world's largest producer of pulverized injection coal (PCI) for steelmaking, has resumed its coal shipments following the resumption of rail and port services at Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, it said on Monday.

Macarthur, which declared force majeure on shipments on March 19, said its full year sales forecast range of 4.8-5 million tonnes remained unchanged, despite the recent weather-related disruptions.

But the resumption of Macarthur's PCI coal shipments would only slightly alleviate the supply tightness in the coking coal market, with top exporter BHP Billiton Ltd (BHP.AX: Quote)(BLT.L: Quote) having declared force majeure on its shipments last week and said its key coal port would take between three to six weeks to resume full operations. [ID:nSGE62N01A]

The Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, which has an annual capacity of 85 million tonnes per year, was shut for about four days last week due to rough weather conditions caused by a cyclone.

The Blackwater and Goonyella rail lines, which transport coal to and from the mines owned by Macarthur, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance and Ensham Resources Pty Ltd, were also halted.

Hard coking coal prices have risen strongly in the past two weeks on the back of the supply disruptions.

Prices of premium quality coal have been sold at $240 a tonne, while offer prices for the steel feed are hovering between $240-$250 a tonne, up from $220-$225 a tonne about two weeks ago, traders said.

Force majeure is a contractual clause that allows companies to miss deliveries because of circumstances beyond their control.

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