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QRC: more needs to be done to help the mining industry

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World Coal,

A study has been conducted by industry intelligence experts Wood Mackenzie and found a third of the state’s coal mines are operating at a loss.

The report was commissioned by the Queensland Resources Council as a part of the QRC’s State of the Sector report, which is a quarterly economic snapshot of the sector.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche said the data confirms what industry leaders have been telling him over the past few months.

“While the cost curves and profitability analyses provide hard data on the state of our sector, the opinions of the industry leaders in Queensland – many of them veterans of thirty or more years – tell the story more starkly,” Roche stated.

"Despite production reaching its highest levels, we have lost 21 000 resource sector jobs in the past two years as a result of low commodity prices.

Roche emphasised governments (federal, state and local) need to be doing more to help the sector, ensuring that policy and regulation supports existing operations. Last year, this was responsible for contributing AUS$64.8 billion to Queensland’s economy, while providing one in every six jobs, according to the Chief Executive.

“Just because our sector is experiencing a downturn, it is not time to sit on our hands as we must have a plan in place to preserve the maximum number of current resources jobs and be ready to take advantage of the upturn … We need to ensure that regulation doesn’t strangle potential projects that will help create jobs and increase revenue that will fill the void from the commodities slump,” continued Roche.

The QRC will be meeting with the Queensland government’s cabinet jobs committee to discuss a plan that will help to protect the current 60 000 resource sector jobs and the tens of thousands of jobs across the 24 000 businesses that support the industry.

Roche believes the mining industry has been doing “all the heavy lifting to try to survive this worst resources downturn in many decades” and it is now time for governments to “play their part” in helping the industry.

“We are not looking for bailouts or subsidies but our entire sector needs certainty and support in the shape of commitments to reduce red tape and unjustified government-imposed and government-sanctioned costs,” Roche concluded. “At the top of our list are royalties, local government rates and the charges from government and private sector providers of rail, port, power and water services.”

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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