Pike River Coal is hailing as good news an analyst's forecast that steel production will grow 10% next year. Coal is a major component of steel.
At its annual meeting in Greymouth this week, the company told shareholders that coal is currently fetching $US160 ($NZ208) a tonne, and that, with strong demand from Asia continuing, a long-term average price of $US140 is forecast.
Barring unforeseen problems, the company expects full production next year. In the first quarter of the year it will ship between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes.
It plans to raise $20 million from investors - money that will be needed in February to fund its operations - though it has given no details.
Pike River Coal is still talking to its American funder Liberty Harbor about extending its $36m funding agreement, but says that if it that doesn't happen it can pay back the money owed and fund its production costs.