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2017: a successful year for coal in Queensland

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Coal,

According to a statement made by Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, the resources sector continues to underpin the Queensland economy with record LNG exports over the year to December 2017 while coal showed it was still in high demand and on track for another record export tonnage until rail and port infrastructure was disrupted when Cyclone Debbie hit in March.

New data has revealed that LNG exports from Queensland in 2017 totalled 20.2 million t, overtaking the last record of the year previous by 2.7 million t.

The LNG sector is forecast to continue its record export growth that is being driven by an energy hungry Asia. China was again the largest customer, receiving nearly 11.6 million t, followed by South Korea at 4 million t while Japan imported 2.5 million t.

According to Macfarlane, as well as being a key global LNG supplier, Queensland is in a positive position with its high quality thermal and coking coal to continue to be one of the main players in global coal exports and the industry alone is forecast to contribute a AUS$3.16 billion windfall to the state’s coffers in this year’s Budget. 

Coal exports over the 12 months reached 210.8 million t which is down 10 million t or 5 % from the previous year’s record of 220.8 million t.

Macfarlane has attributed Cyclone Debbie as responsible for this drop in coal exports for he notes that this caused serious damage to rail infrastructure.


Queensland Treasury note that the cyclone decreased coal exports by 11 million t. According to Macfarlane, it is plausible that with the absence of the cyclone, Queensland coal exports would have reached another volume record. 


While many green activists continue to claim the world is turning away from fossil fuels, according to Macfarlane, the opposite is the case with Queensland coal exported to at least 37 different countries, with five in the Americas, 16 in Europe and two in Middle East.

Queensland LNG was exported to nine countries across the world, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Hong Kong. 

Queensland’s combined coal and LNG industries delivered a AUS$46.7 billion economic contribution in 2016/17 and supported more than 230 000 full-time employees across the state.

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