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Demand remains strong for Queensland coal

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World Coal,

The latest coal export data for January has shown that regional Queensland continues to do the heavy-lifting for the state’s coffers and demand continues to remain strong for the region’s high-energy, lower-emission coal.

Figures show that January 2016 saw a record of just over 19 million t for coal exports – 8% higher than January 2015.

The latest export figures for January show that Queensland regions are also the heavy lifters when it comes to royalty contributions, according to Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche. He indicated the Queensland government would receive royalties on those 19 million t, even though one in every three Queensland coal mines is operating at a loss.

Roche said although industry has taken a hit during the commodities fall, record production levels persist across the sector. He explained that “the coal ports of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay, Hay Point and Gladstone all had their strongest ever January.”

According to Roche, the export figures also show there is strong demand from Asia for Queensland’s high-energy value, lower-emission coking and thermal coal remains strong.

Roche said that the Queensland coal industry’s ability to maintain this strong export performance is not unlimited, especially for those mines running at a loss: “Some mines remain open only because their high fixed costs (for example rail and port charges) mean that, if they were to close, the losses could be even greater. This higher production allows mines to spread their fixed costs over more tonnes,” Roche said.

He continued: “If the Queensland government wants to see this strong export performance and flow of royalties continue, then they need to work with industry on a comprehensive plan to deliver some breathing space … In the absence of such a plan, our fear is that more mines will be forced to close.”

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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