Michael Roche, Queensland Resource Council Chief Executive Officer. Mark Duffus
Michael Roche, Queensland Resource Council Chief Executive Officer. Mark Duffus Mark Duffus Photographer

"Perspective" needed: mining boss

THE head of Queensland's most powerful resources group has said there needed to be "some perspective" over how much of the state is being used for mining.

Queensland Resources Council boss Michael Roche - who leads the peak body with more than 280 members - told a local government and industry forum in Brisbane on Friday (Aug17) that the impression that mining was somehow gobbling up the states was inaccurate.

Mr Roche pointed to statistics that showed that 86% of Queensland's land use was in the hands of the grazing sector, while mining and gas operations used just 0.09%.

And once the operations were exhausted - up to 50 years for coal mines and 15 years for coal-seam gas wells - mine companies were legally bound to rehabilitate the land or face losing the financial assurance paid to the State as a bond.

APN reported today that Rio Tinto's Blair Athol project alone had an assurance of more than $84 billion to ensure it would property return the land to its pre-mining state.

APN can also reveal that BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance's Norwich Park Mine, mothballed earlier this year, gave the State a financial assurance of $136.9 million, although the company has repeatedly said it had not permanently closed, but was simply put into "care and maintenance" mode.

Mr Roche said with that minimal land use, the industry directly and indirectly supplied $56 billion to the Queensland economy in 2010-11 financial year. The spread of mine companies prospecting and exploring for minerals across the state were also not a cause for fear, he said. "For every 200 exploration targets, you might have one that might be successful and which could turn into an operational gas or mine site," Mr Roche said.

"We need to keep those numbers in perspective."


CENTRAL QUEENSLAND Including Banana, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Central Highlands councils.

  • Resource operations use 50,000ha or 0.4% of 114,400km2In 2010/11 the industry delivered:
  • $8b gross regional product (direct and indirect) 
  • More than 55,250 full-time equivalent jobs, or 50% of workforce (direct and indirect) 
  • $81m per year in royalties (estimate)
  • 2020 Forecast:  Mining would use 120,000 hectares or 1% of total land area 
  • Royalties: $1.5 billion pa

DARLING DOWNS including Maranoa, Toowoomba, Western Downs, Goondiwindi, Southern Downs, Balonne councils.

Mining/resources use 0.04% or 6,500ha of 170,710km2In 2010/11 the industry delivered:

  • $1.6 b gross regional product (direct and indirect) 
  • 10,500 full-time equivalent jobs, or 10% of workforce (direct and indirect) 
  • $130m in royalties per year (estimate)
  • 2020 Forecast:  Mining/gas projects would use 42,000 ha or 0.25% of total area. 
  • Royalties: $1 billion per year

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