Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University


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Australia's Black Coal Industry: Past Achievements and Future Challenges

Working Paper

Dr. Bart Lucarelli

Issued by
Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, March 2011

The world's largest coal exporter sits at a critical crossroads.  In the decades following WWII, Australia's coal industry grew from a small, fractured sector to the biggest player in international coal markets. This remarkable growth was driven by a combination of prodigious reserves, smart policy and regulation, strategic deployment of advanced technologies, and savvy market relationships with key Asian consumers.  But the industry now faces critical challenges that are poised to determine whether Australia will continue to be the globe's largest coal supplier. 

In "Australia's Black Coal Industry: Past Achievements and Future Challenges," PESD's Dr. Bart Lucarelli assesses the factors which are expected to shape the black coal industries of Queensland and New South Wales over the next 20 years. The study analyzes the critical challenges facing the Australia's black coal industries and the likely futures that might emerge from the resolution of those challenges over time.  

This analysis is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how Australia came to dominate the global coal trade, and how the future of Asian energy markets is likely to develop.