Commodity Insights

Thermal Coal Market Outlook Case Study

Indonesia Coal Supply

Indonesia’s low infrastructure costs and ability to quickly ramp up/down it has became a significant threat to other exporters.


The rapid rise of Indonesian thermal coal exports in the 2000’s changed market dynamics considerably, while also feeding the rapidly growing demands of China and India. Given the particular structure of the industry, low infrastructure costs and ability to ramp up/down quickly in turbulent markets, it became a significant potential threat to other exporters.

Our clients held a significant suite of thermal coal export mines in other jurisdictions, and wanted to understand the future likely trajectory of Indonesian supply, along with the impacts of domestic demand, government policy and infrastructure constraints (if identified).

To meet this goal, we proposed a desktop review of Indonesia’s burgeoning coal industry including an analysis of reserves and resources, mining policies, infrastructure constrains and environmental regulations.


Our methodology involved an assessment of current and potential thermal coal supply with a focus on potential supply across emerging provinces including West Papua. Having undertaken similar analysis in Indonesia we leveraged our physical presence in Indonesia to implement a market study using primary research to quantify the current and future supply of Indonesian coal.


A comprehensive report on the sector was provided to our client, covering all aspects from reserves and resources to mining practices, cost structures, infrastructure access, policy developments and implications and the likely impact of growing domestic demand. An upper limit of production and exports was identified based on various constraining factors (and has proven to be correct since) but a clear strategic risk was identified and quantified.

Mark Gresswell


Mark Gresswell
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