“We will export about 13 million tonnes of metallurgical coal this year, of which 8.3 million tonnes will reach Asia. Of that, 6.5 million [tonnes] will go to China,” de Meulemeester said in an exclusive interview.
“In the future, 70% of our exports will go to Asia,” he added.
China’s hunger for steel has seen it rocket this year to the position of the world’s largest importer of seaborne coking coal, beating the world’s historical number-one importer of the steelmaking raw material – Japan.
The Asian giant has increasingly become the focus for Mechel’s export sales since it started selling into China four years ago, with sales to the country comprising almost 80% of its Asian exports in 2013.
The launch of a new rail route between Russia and China’s Jilin province in August has given Mechel easy access to the lucrative northern Chinese market....