Coal mines ready to recover says Roche
DESPITE estimated sales losses of $2.3 billion from wet season events, Queensland’s export coal industry is determined to restore the state’s leading income earner, says Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche.
Mr Roche said many of the state’s 57 producing coal mines were working around the clock to remove floodwater from mine sites and secure access to rail transport.
“QRC estimates that about 15 per cent of the state’s coal mines are in full production, with 60 per cent operating under restrictions and a further 25 per cent yet to resume normal operations,” said Mr Roche.
Until December 2010, the coal industry was on target to deliver the production volumes underpinning Queensland Treasury’s forecast of $2.8 billion in royalties to Queensland taxpayers this financial year.
“At full production, the coal industry is worth $8.5 million a day to Queensland taxpayers through royalties paid to the State Government,” said Mr Roche. “It’s essential the industry is given every opportunity to get back on its feet to restore that flow of much-needed funds after such a horrendous start to the wet season.”
Mr Roche praised the efforts of the State Government and rail network owner QR National in supporting the coal industry’s recovery.
“QR National has restored the Moura line to Gladstone and we are hoping for similar good news for the Blackwater system later this week,” he said.
Mr Roche said to take full advantage of the return of rail services, coal mines and some coal seam gas sites would need further dispensation from the Department of Environment and Resource Management to pump floodwater into creeks that feed strongly flowing watercourses.
The impact of the industry’s losses are set to be far reaching, with global energy analyst firm Wood MacKenzie predicting the price of hard coking coal to soar to between US$400 and US$500 dollars a tonne.