QRC seeks to work with communities

Michael Roche says coal mines are still holding onto 250-300 megalitres of water following the 2010/11 floods.
Michael Roche says coal mines are still holding onto 250-300 megalitres of water following the 2010/11 floods. Peter Holt

RESIDENTS will have the opportunity to help shape the direction of communities surrounded by mining developments following the Queensland Resources Council's declaration stronger partnerships will be a reality by next year.

QRC chief executive Michael Roche yesterday committed the minerals and energy sector to work closely with the State Government in developing regulatory plans for Central Queensland.

The first steps will be taken on Friday when the Regional Planning Committee touches down in Emerald to strategise management for the future.

"QRC and its member companies intend to work closely with the government and local communities in shaping these regional plans," Mr Roche told delegates at the CME2012 Conference in Mackay.

"The QRC and its members take this process very seriously because it is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that our social licence to operate is strong and has the potential to become stronger."

The QRC is the peak body representing all mining developments in the state. Mr Roche said mining and gas industries directly and indirectly contributed $2.25 billion to the economic output of Central Queensland and accounted for 8% of employment in 2010-11.

"The resources sector's direct spending in 2010/11 in the four CQ local government areas of $4.4 billion on wages and salaries and goods and services directly and indirectly delivered over 55,000 jobs, or nearly half the region's employment," he said.

"However, we have to acknowledge that some activists will seek to use these regional planning processes to undermine our sector's standing.

"This is where we will have to do the job of communicating our case via clear-cut examples such as the sector's tiny land use footprint totalling 0.09% of Queensland's land mass."

Mr Roche seized the opportunity while in front of the mining stakeholders to debunk claims the mining boom was in its last years.

He said mining product revenue contributed 11.5% of global gross domestic product, and mining services industries a further 23%.

"In Queensland, the impact of mining in terms of land and water use is also insignificant compared with the economic bounty it yields," he said.

"Less than 1% of the earth's surface is dedicated to mining, which also consumes less than 1% of the world's water.

"The point is that the world will never stop mining and the minerals in greatest global demand are coal, copper and iron ore - all of which are mined here in Queensland."

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