The Queensland Government has released more than 7000 square kilometres of land in the Bowen and Surat Basins for coal exploration opportunities in 2020.
This follows a record 64,000 square kilometres released in the state government’s previous three exploration programs.
Two areas in the 2020 Bowen Basin land release are set aside for metallurgical coal.
Tenders are scheduled to open for coal in March, with land awarded to successful bidders by September this year.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the latest exploration program release was sowing the seed for the next generation of projects and the jobs that would flow from them.
“This basin is already the world’s largest exporter of seaborne metallurgical coal in the world,” Gilbert said.
“Metallurgical coal plays a critical role in the renewables supply chain as it is a vital component in the production of steel.”
Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the state’s annual exploration investment from 2017 to 2019 had risen by 27 per cent.
“For Queensland to remain a resources powerhouse and to meet the world’s demand for resources exploration investment is critical,” Lynham said.
“This exploration program release supports the building of the next pipeline of resource projects.”
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the industry body had been “very supportive” of the release of areas for exploration for all resources.
“A proactive exploration program secures tomorrow’s resource industry while supporting jobs, many of which will be in regional Queensland,” Macfarlane said.
“To keep this momentum in job creation going it’s essential that during this election year all sides of parliament commit to a consultative regulatory process and clear approval guidelines.”
The 2020 land release also includes 12 petroleum and gas areas.
In the 12 months to November 2019, Queensland’s resources industry generated more than $70 billion in exports and employed more than 66,000 workers.