1 ASX 200 stock that turned $10,000 into $72,756 in just 3 years

This ASX 200 stock has seen investors bag a 628% gain in just three years.

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There have been some really big winners among S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) stocks over the past few years.

Of the big gainers pack, one ASX 200 stock leaps to the forefront for me. Particularly as it's involved in an unloved industry in a world moving towards decarbonisation.

Yet, as has been clearly demonstrated since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, this "dirty' industry remains vital for most nations that wish to keep their citizens' lights on and their fridges cool during the lengthy global transition towards reliable and affordable cleaner energy.

And despite Australia's own sustainable energy plans, global coal demand is booming, led by new coal-fired power plants in China. India and Japan are among the other populous nations rolling out new coal power plants.

Which brings us to ASX 200 coal stock Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC).

A 628% gain from this ASX 200 stock

Three years ago today, on 7 May 2021, you could have snapped up Whitehaven shares for $1.27 apiece.

Meaning for $10,000 you could have bought 7,874 shares for this ASX 200 stock.

May 2021 also marked the beginning of a strong upward price trend for both thermal coal (primarily used for generating electricity) and coking coal (primarily used in steel manufacturing).

In May 2021 thermal coal was trading for around US$98 per tonne.

By September 2022 that same tonne was worth a record high of around US$440 per tonne.

This helped drive the ASX 200 stock to its own all-time highs at the time.

While the Whitehaven share price has retraced from those records, you're unlikely to hear any long-term investors complaining.

At the time of writing on Tuesday afternoon, Whitehaven shares are swapping hands for $7.95 apiece.

That means the 7,874 shares you bought with your $10,000 investment three years ago are worth $62,598.30.

But wait.

Let's not forget the dividends.

Adding in that passive income

There's a good reason Whitehaven shares are popular among passive income investors.

Since March 2022 the ASX 200 stock has paid out a total of five dividend payments, all but one fully franked.

Adding them up and this equates to $1.29 in total dividend payouts you would have received if you bought the stock three years ago.

That's assuming you spent those as they came in rather than reinvesting, which could have netted you even more gains.

So, adding those five dividend payouts to the $7.95 current Whitehaven share price and the total accumulated value of Whitehaven shares since May 2021 comes to $9.24 a share.

Meaning the 7,874 shares of this ASX 200 stock you bought three years ago today would now be worth a whopping $72,755.76!

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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 Scott Phillips.

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