Industry Veteran David Austin Talks Colonial Coal and Investing in Coal
Coal industry veteran David Austin discusses points for investors to consider when investing in coal and outlines the important, but often overlooked, difference between thermal and metallurgical coal.
Coal Investing News recently had the chance to speak with coal industry veteran David Austin. Currently CEO of Colonial Coal (TSXV:CAD), Austin was also a founder of Western Coal and Northern Energy & Mining (NEMI), with Western selling to Walter Energy (NYSE:WLT) in 2010 for $3.3 billion. Colonial Coal is a pure-play coking coal development company that is currently focused on advancing its resource-stage Huguenot and Flatbed properties. Both properties are located in British Columbia's prolific Peace River coalfield, and are 100-percent owned by Colonial Coal. Somewhat of a legend in the coal mining sector, Austin has a wealth of valuable experience and insight. In addition to giving an update on Colonial Coal's activities, he spoke about what investors might want to consider when investing in coal, and outlined the important, but often overlooked, difference between thermal and metallurgical coal. Coking coal vs. met coal Even after considering the differences between the thermal and metallurgical coal markets, investors may need to be wary of further distinctions. With reference to Colonial Coal, Austin explained, "we do metallurgical coal, but we usually call it coking coal because a lot of people are using the met coal terminology when it's not a met coal. So we stay away from it — we call ours coking coal." Austin broke the problem down further, stating, "it is a met coal, but the problem is a PCI is a met coal, and a PCI, or pulverized coal injection, is used as a supplement. When the coal price got really high, they started using a different product, which they called a PCI, and because it's used in the metallurgical side of the business they're allowed to call it a met coal. In reality, it's not. It's just really a high-end thermal. We've realized that we've got to distinguish, so we're a met coal company and our entire goal is for coking coal."