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Queensland coal exports on the up

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World Coal,

Queensland exported about 19.5 million t of coal in May, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) an increase of 8.9% on the same period in 2015, when the Australian state exported 17.9 million t.

For the 11 months to May, Queensland’s exports totaled 202 million t, compared to the comparable 199 million t in 2014 – 2015.

“This achievement comes despite the sector has had around 23 000 job losses since November 2013 and we reported in February that one-third of all Queensland coal mines were operating at a loss,” said QRC Chief Executive, Michael Roche.

Despite this – and a strong ramp up in the state’s LNG exports – Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt recently announced an AUS$2.7 billion royalty writedown ahead of the state budget, which Roche blamed on overly optimistic commodity price forecasts.

“While Queensland continues to set records in the volume of resource commodities we export, our commodity prices have remained stubbornly low,” Roche explained. “In retrospect, it is clear that the commodity price forecasts in last year’s budget and mid-year review were far too bullish.”

Roche also called on the Queensland government to support the state’s mining sector through relief from state taxes and charges, reform of permitting procedures – particularly the role of the Land Court, which has been a locus of environmentalist objections to coal projects – and by “shining a light on ludicrously high local government rates”.

“I can’t think of another industry that has achieved such outstanding results considering the current operating conditions,” concluded Roche. “The government earns zero royalties when a mine closes; therefore, the government should be doing all it can to support existing operations.”

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