coal, metallurgical, mining

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 (met) coal (or coking coal) is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock found within the earth’s crust. Categories of met coal include hard coking coal, semi-hard coking-coal, semi-soft coking coal and pulverised coal for injection (PCI). These apply to the different quality grades of met coal, all of which 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, 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. The challenge for steelmaking is to produce this vital commodity to enable sustainable growth, while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of the production process itself.

In 2020, BHP produced around 70 million tonnes of met coal. That’s enough to produce enough steel to build the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) over 1,600 times!
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Construction

Buildings, bridges and other infrastructure around the world are built with steel made from iron ore that’s been blasted in a furnace powered by met coal.

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Transport

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.

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Household appliances

You’ll find steel in everyday household appliances like 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 nine operating coal mines in the Bowen Basin area of Central Queensland in Australia.
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Queensland

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

How is metallurgical coal mined?

 

Mining methods differ depending on how far the coal is located below the Earth’s surface.

Underground
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. The coal is then transported to stock piles. 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.


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