Mongolia has set a goal to export 42 million tonnes of coal in 2020. However, the country was forced to suspended coal deliveries to China in mid-February as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 across the border. Mongolia’s border crossings for coal exports will re-open on 15 March, backtracking on last week’s decision to restart exports on 3 March.
According to data from the Mongolian Customs Administration, the country exported a total of 245.9 thousand tonnes of coal to China from 1-17 February, 2020; this represents a dramatic fall from two million tonnes of coal in January. However, Mongolian officials are optimistically saying the country can meet goals for coal export if it provides more deliveries to China during the summer.
Mongolia is also an important source of coking coal for China. According to Chinese customs data, Mongolia was the top importer of coking coal to China last year with 33.8 million tonnes, providing 45 percent of China’s total import volumes for 2019 of 74.6 million tonnes,. Mongolian coking coal exports to China increased by 22 percent from 2018 as production and infrastructure improved.
Mongolia also overtook Australia for the top exporter of coking coal to China last year. Australia exported 30.9 million tonnes of coking coal to China in 2019, up by 9.6 percent from 2018.