“Average” mines don’t exist: Queensland mining industry

The coal industry in Queensland believes there is no such thing as the “average” mines the Gillard government’s carbon tax refers to.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche says the “average” mines used in the terms of reference for the proposed tax show the lack of understanding the government has about the industry.

Rumours are circulating that mining lobbies will launch television advertisements today that highlight the impact the carbon tax will have on the resources sector and associated industries.

Roche has slammed the government for its lack of understanding about the sector and says defining an “average coal mine” would be akin to describing an average Australian.

"Every coal mine is built on different geology, carries the burden of different cost structures and works to different, and in some cases, tight margins," he said.

"The complexity of domestic and export markets demand different products for different uses at very different price points, making a mockery of the federal government’s average carbon price impact."

Roche said it is important for all Queenslanders to understand the impact the tax will have on the state’s coal mining industry.

He believes facts are being lost in the midst of the political debate surrounding its introduction, particularly with figures and assurances being provided by the government on job security and the true cost of the tax.

“Claims that the carbon tax will cost less than $2 per tonne of coal mined are wrong,” a QRC statement says.

“The tax will be up to 25 times higher for some Queensland mines because of coal type, not how they extract it.”

“Current coal industry jobs in Queensland are at risk.

“Using actual cost data from Queensland mines, consultants ACIL Tasman have calculated the carbon tax is going to cost 2700 Queensland coal workers their jobs, possibly as early as 2018.”

Yesterday the NSW Minerals Council also said the Government has the carbon tax figures wrong when it comes to coal mines.

The leading industry body says the state could be hit the hardest by the proposed carbon tax, and the flow on effects may lead to 3000 job losses.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard assurances to coal workers in the Hunter Valley yesterday that their jobs are safe have been met with criticism and doubt.

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