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Why the Whitehaven Coal share price is storming higher today

James Mickleboro

The Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) share price has been amongst the best performers on the ASX 200 index on Thursday following the release of its quarterly update.

At the time of writing the coal miner’s shares are up 4% to $3.80.

What was in Whitehaven Coal’s update?

According to the release, Whitehaven Coal had a strong finish to the year. It achieved 7.3Mt ROM coal production in the final quarter, which was a 25% increase on the prior corresponding period.

This ultimately led to total ROM coal production of 23.2Mt in FY 2019, which was a 1% year on year increase and exceeded the company’s full year guidance.

The better than expected production in FY 2019 was driven by record production from the Maules Creek operation where 11.7Mt was produced. This was supported by a strong final quarter at the Narrabri operation which achieved production of 1.9Mt and 6.4Mt for the full year. The latter was notably higher than its guidance.

Whitehaven Coal also reported a 9% increase in June quarter saleable coal production to 5.2Mt. This led to total coal sales of 21.6Mt over the 12 months, which was around 2% lower than FY 2018’s sales.

The globalCoal Newcastle Index thermal coal price softened to an average of US$79.86 a tonne for the quarter compared with the average price for FY 2019 of US$99.41 a tonne. The Metallurgical coal average price achieved was US$119 a tonne over the 12 months.

The company’s managing director and chief executive officer, Paul Flynn, was pleased with the final quarter.

He said: “It’s pleasing to see a respectable production result for the quarter and year, particularly in respect of Narrabri which demonstrated a strong return to form. Safety performance was also positive and we are absolutely focused on ensuring continued vigilance on this front. We also progressed along the approvals pathways for both Vickery and Winchester South, together with developments at our existing assets, very much reflecting our status as the true growth player in the Australian seaborne market.”

Elsewhere in the sector today, gold miner Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) is flying high after a strong rise in the gold price and copper miner OZ Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) is pushing higher following its latest update.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. 2019