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The Associated Press February 22, 2010, 3:04PM ET

Peabody Energy coal arrives at Australian terminal

Peabody Energy Corp. said Monday that coal from Australia will arrive in China through a new export terminal built to handle surging power demand in Asia.

The coal has already shipped, Peabody said.

A number of U.S. coal companies in recent months have said they are pushing aggressively into Asia, using mines in Australia, because demand for energy is so weak at home.

It's a long-term strategy as well.

New climate legislation will likely make burning coal more expensive in the U.S. and already utilities are switching over to cleaner burning natural gas.

Coal is still cheaper to burn, but coal-fired power plants are tremendously expensive to build and new climate rules would likely amplify that.

Peabody's terminal is expected to begin exporting in April. It is being developed by the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, a consortium of companies that includes Peabody Energy.

Peabody has nine mines in Australia that produce coal to generate electricity and for use in manufacturing steel.

The company, which is based in St. Louis, is expanding its presence in Australia with the goal to increasing volume by up to 30 percent in 2010. Its Australian mines produced about 22 million tons last year.

Shares of Peabody rose 3 cents to $47.07.

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