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|The Australian coal industry has undergone sevenfold growth over the last 30 years and since 1985 has been the world's largest coal exporter. Three quarters of Australia's coal production is exported so its future is dependent on it remaining internationally competitive with other energy sources and other coal exporting countries. Coal is likely to increase its share of the energy market during the nine- ties as oil prices increase, new coal-fired capacity is commissioned and some form of nuclear energy is developed which is of acceptable safety standards to the community for use in the 21st century. Gas may take a part of coal's anticipated market share by the Year 2000. While coal exports will increase from China, Colombia, Indonesia and Venezuela and satisfy some of this additional coal demand Australia will also expand its export production, due to its existing advantages. The United States, Canada, South Africa, Poland and USSR seem unlikely to enjoy the same degrees of expansion and some, particularly Poland and USSR, will decline. Australia will always find it difficult to compete in the more distant markets due to levels of ocean freight, although its high quality coals will tend to partly offset such disadvantage.|