Metallurgical coal

Metallurgical coal is a black sedimentary rock found within the earth's crust. It is higher in carbon, typically low in moisture and is an essential part of the steel-making process.

What is metallurgical coal?


Metallurgical coal, also known as met and coking coal, is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock found within the earth’s crust. Met coal encompasses a wide range of quality grades including hard coking coal, semi-hard coking-coal, semi-soft coking coal and pulverised coal for injection (PCI). All are used to make steel. Met coal typically contains more carbon, less ash and less moisture than thermal coal, which is used for electricity generation.

How is metallurgical coal used?


Metallurgical coal is an essential ingredient in the production of steel, making it one of the most widely used building materials on earth. It takes around 770 kilograms of coal to make one ton of steel, with approximately 70 per cent of global steel produced in basic oxygen blast furnaces. Our challenge is to continue producing the coal required to support future construction, infrastructure and the energy transition, while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of our operations.

Most buildings, bridges and other key infrastructure projects around the world all have one thing in common - they are built with steel made from iron ore and met coal powered blast furnaces.


Every mode of transportation relies on the steel that’s produced from iron ore and met coal. That includes planes, trains, ships, trucks and cars.

Household appliances

You’ll find steel in everyday household appliances like your ovens, fridges and cutlery.

How is steel made?

Where is metallurgical coal found?


Metallurgical coal comes mainly from the United States, Canada and Australia. We have seven operating coal mines in the Bowen Basin area of Central Queensland in Australia.
Caval Ridge at dawn


Queensland Coal comprises the seven BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) assets in Australia's Bowen Basin region of central Queensland.

How is metallurgical coal mined?


The methods we use to mine our coal depends on how far it is located below the Earth’s surface.

At our Broadmeadow mine in Central Queensland, coal is mined by a longwall shearer deep underground. The coal is then transported to the surface on a conveyor belt and stockpiled. Impurities are removed through washing and treatment at a coal handling and preparation plant. It’s then transported by train to port, loaded onto ships and exported to our customers.

Open cut
At our open cut mines, we extract coal from seams relatively close to the surface. We blast and remove the surface layers of soil and rock to expose the coal, which we then mine using excavators, draglines, shovels and trucks. Impurities are then removed, before being transported by train to port, loaded onto ships and exported to our customers.

Where is our metallurgical coal exported to?


BHP's met coal is shipped to steel mills and coking plants in China, India, Japan, South-East Asia, South Korea, Europe and Latin America.


Fact about met coal