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MELBOURNE, March 21 (Reuters) - New Hope Corp, Australia's top independent coal producer, reported a near quadrupling in first-half underlying profit on Tuesday, underpinned by rising prices and higher production following its acquisition of the Bengalla coal mine.
It said it expected demand for its high quality coal used in power plants "to remain strong for the foreseeable future".
Net profit before one-offs rose to A$54.9 million ($42.4 million) for the six months to Jan. 31 from A$15.0 million a year earlier, as sale volumes rose 47 percent to 3.96 million tonnes.
The result was slightly higher than the top end of New Hope's upgraded guidance last month. ($1 = 1.2942 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Leslie Adler)