Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) share price hits 52-week highs. Here’s why

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The Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) share price is up 3.5% at the time of writing. That puts the coal miner’s shares at 52-week highs.

In fact, you’d need to go back to 29 November 2019 to find the Whitehaven share price above the current $2.97.

Clearly, ASX investors aren’t concerned about the United Nation’s latest proposal to phase out all Australian coal production within 10 years.

What’s driving the run to 52-week highs?

The Whitehaven Coal share price has enjoyed a healthy tailwind over the past calendar year from rising coal prices.

Premium hard coking coal prices in China, the world’s biggest coal consumer, surged again this month, up US$9.18 per tonne to reach US$431.03 per tonne.

The ASX coal producer also received a big boost in May, when it won a legal battle against Environment Minister Susan Ley. Ley had been attempting to block approval for Whitehaven’s Vickery Extension Project, which will expand the company’s Vickery Coal Project.

That project has the potential to produce some 10 million tonnes of mostly coking coal per year. The high-quality coal produces lower levels of CO2 emissions than lower thermal varieties.

The Whitehaven Coal share price also kept charging higher following the release of some mixed results for FY21. Shares are up 27% since the company released those results on 26 August.

Despite revenue and profits falling year-on-year, investors picked up on the one-off asset impairment related $650 million of significant expenses dragging on the overall numbers.

Whitehaven’s CEO Paul Flynn also offered this positive outlook with the release of the company’s FY21 results:

Today, the outlook is better than we have seen for some time, with the strong price environment putting us on an accelerated timeline to de-leveraging the balance sheet and returning cash to shareholders.

Whitehaven Coal share price snapshot

Now at 52-week highs, Whitehaven shares are up 248% since this time last year. By comparison, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is up 26% over 12 months.

Whitehaven Coal pays a 0.8% dividend yield, unfranked.

Should you invest $1,000 in Whitehaven Coal right now?

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The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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