Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche says the global demand for coal is set to increase, with mines in the state well positioned take advantage of the swing.
Speaking in Rockhampton as part of briefings with government, conservation and business leaders, Roche said the current trading environment for the coal industry was a ‘test of mettle’ for Bowen Basin producers.
“The latest export data suggests that they are responding skilfully to global market realities by reducing costs and increasing volumes to reinforce Queensland’s position as a supplier of choice to Asia,” Roche said.
QRC said industry analysts report Queensland coal exports jumped again last month, with metallurgical export terminals accounting for a large proportion of a 34 percent increase in exports compared with August last year.
Roche said Queensland’s coal industry was positioning itself for an inevitable revival of coal demand, driven by China and India.
“The Queensland coal industry is positioning itself for the inevitable revival of coal demand, driven by China and India. The economic aspirations and development of these countries has been delayed – not abandoned.
“However, we must never lose sight of the fact that no-one is obliged to beat a path to Queensland’s door for minerals and energy commodities.”
Australia’s coal sector has been hit hard with miners operating on thinner margins and an estimated 9000 jobs cut in New South Wales and Queensland over the last 18 months.
Earlier this year the QRC said around $50 billion worth of coal projects have been put on hold.
Roche said that figure includes more than a dozen projects.
“There’s no getting around the fact that is probably the most difficult conditions for the coal industry in the last 10 years,” he said.
“We’ve seen coal prices plummet at the same time as cost have been skyrocketing, and so there are many mines who are in loss-making situations.”
Roche said Queensland’s resources diversity had provided a buffer against the full impact of the coal downturn.