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Teck’s Elk Valley coal mines make bank in Q2

The company’s coal division accounted for $2.5 billion of Teck’s $3.2 billion in quarterly gross profits
The Elkview SRF is right in the middle of Teck’s Elkview operations near Sparwood, B.C., which is fully operational. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Teck has released it’s quarterly report for April-June 2022, which the company says was a fourth consecutive quarter of record-setting earnings driven by high commodity prices.

Adjusted profit attributable to shareholders for the entire company was five times higher than the same time last year, at $1.8 billion, in no small part thanks to the coal division.

Gross profits were at $3.2 billion (up from $689 million in Q2 ‘21) overall from the company, of which $2.5 billion came from coal – breaking the last quarter’s record-setting $1.8 billion.

“Gross profit increased significantly from $233 million in the same period last year driven by record-high steel-making coal prices, partly offset by higher unit operating costs due to inflationary cost pressures and the effect of lower production levels,” reads the report.

“Realized steel-making coal prices of US$453 per tonne in the quarter increased from US$144 per tonne in the same period last year and exceeded the previous record of US$357 per tonne realized in the first quarter of 2022.”

Second quarter sales were roughly the same as last year’s Q2, at 6.3 million tonnes and within guidances. Production was less, at 5.3 million tonnes, but there was a backlog of inventory on-site in the Elk Valley mines.

“The logistics chain performed well through the quarter, reducing mine steel-making coal inventories to near-historic low levels.”

According to the company, this was thanks to that improvements to the supply chain which allowed it to clear a backlog in inventory which built up in late 2021 and early 2022 due to transportation snags in British Columbia, allowing for strong sales numbers.

“As the cornerstone of our supply chain transformation, our upgraded Neptune port supported improved supply chain reliability and resilience, avoiding the potential loss in revenue in excess of $1 billion since July 2021,” reads the report.

Looking at the steel-making coal market, a slowdown in the global economy has been named as a culprit for throttled profits.

“Global steel-making coal prices are affected by reduced downstream steel demand as weakening auto production and global inflationary pressures weigh on market sentiment which, when combined, are adding pressure on steelmakers’ margins.”

Despite this, Teck’s report claims that the division is well-positioned to continue posting hefty profits into the third quarter (July-September). Due to inventories being down, sales are expected to match production for the next quarter, between 5.8 and 6.2 million tonnes.

Finally, the company conceded it didn’t expect to recover any production shortfalls from the first half of the year, citing workplace challenges.

“We now expect annual production to be between 23.5 and 24.0 million tonnes, below our previous guidance of 24.5 to 25.5 million tonnes.”

READ MORE: Teck to invest in North American copper
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