Australia’s Whitehaven Coal posted a 4per cent drop in its first-quarter saleable coal production on Thursday, hit primarily by a fall in sales from its Narrabri Mine in New South Wales, due to shipping delays amid rough weather conditions.

Managed saleable coal production for the country’s largest independent coal miner was at 4.7 million tonnes for the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from 4.9 million tonnes a year ago.

However, Whitehaven said that prices of both thermal and metallurgical coal were expected to remain well-supported due to strong demand and continuing supply tightness.

Coal prices have been on a rise due to strong demand from China, the world’s largest coal consumer, after the country has been grappling with a growing energy crisis following supply constraints as safety checks have slowed output.

“During recent weeks, thermal coal prices reached record highs which we will see reflected in significant cash generation over the coming months,” Chief Executive Officer Paul Flynn said.

Flynn also said that Whitehaven expected to fully repay its senior debt facility early in the 2022 calendar year and would be in a net cash position in its third fiscal quarter.

The miner, which reaffirmed its fiscal 2022 production guidance, reported September quarter run of mine (ROM) coal production of 5.2 million tonnes, a 15per cent jump from the previous year.

(Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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