Industry slams ‘crying wolf’ claims

The Queensland Resources Council has hit back at claims that the mining industry is 'crying wolf' over the spiralling commodity prices.

It comes after an opinion piece by CFMEU national president Tony Maher in the Courier Mail, in which he claimed "mining companies [are] crying wolf yet again".

In his piece, Maher states "it's in the mining industry's interests to fuel anxiety that the boom is over. After all, if there's no boom, how can they be required to share the benefits by providing secure jobs and investing in local communities and economies?

"But commodity prices easing back to levels typical of five years ago doesn't mean the boom is over.
"The gravy train of absolutely huge profit margins, and speculators becoming billionaires without ever mining a tonne of coal, may be over, but the mining boom isn't. Far from it.

"Recent forecasts from the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics show increases in volume will drive production of resources to three times the pre-boom levels during the next decade."

After expounding upon the current state of resource exports and the growth of jobs in the sector, Maher said "the truth is the mining companies have been crying wolf for years.

Despite years of threats from mining executives, the mass exodus is yet to take place and the investment figures show it isn't going to happen any time in the next couple of decades.

"So next time you hear the one about mining companies packing up and going to Africa, treat it like the joke it is."
The QRC has slammed these claims.

Speaking at a CEDA function in Brisbane yesterday, QRC chief Michael Roche said that "industry critics who claim that resource commodity prices (and revenues) are still high by historical standards and that the industry is therefore 'crying wolf' are telling only half the story.

'The latest such foray was from CFMEU National President Tony Maher in a newspaper opinion piece yesterday.

"Mr Maher said that the 'numbers tell the story', and he is absolutely right," Roche said, adding that the average cash cost of production per tonne of thermal coal in Australia is around US$77, not including depreciation, capital replacement costs, company tax, and carbon tax, while typical thermal coal prices are currently below US$80 per tonne.

"Over the past six years average mining wages have increased by 43 percent" and the "average costs of installing an extra tonne of thermal coal production is some two-thirds higher in Queensland than in the rest of the world average," he said.

He went on to say that the recent royalty rate increases are also set to take their toll, and have already seen Queensland coal shoot to the top of the global ladder for effective tax rates.