Bowen Basin coal more important than gas

THE BOWEN Basin is a world class coal mining province that exports high value metallurgical coal to the leading steel makers of the world yet all the Queensland government wants to do is trumpet to the world how it wants to develop gas.
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The Queensland government is covertly backing renewables in the Bowen Basin by pushing gas.

Newly-appointed Queensland resources minister Scott Stewart proudly proclaimed that a $5 million gas infrastructure study by the Queensland government could lead to the Bowen Basin emerging as the "next gas frontier".

He also admitted that gas is playing a critical role as a transition fuel to renewables and is one of the reasons why the Queensland government are investing in the study.

Effectively, Stewart has owned up to the fact that the Queensland government is covertly backing renewables in the Bowen Basin by pushing gas.

"The study will also look at opportunities to capture gas emissions from coal mines in the Bowen Basin to contribute to supply and at the same time help reduce emissions," he said.

"This opportunity is a win-win proposition as it will increase gas supply and at the same time reduce our emissions."

Stewart said officers from the Queensland department of energy had been on the ground engaging with the gas sector to scope the study and ensure it will meet their needs to help them with their future investment decisions.

"New gas infrastructure would boost the development of gas production in the Bowen Basin and make more gas available for Queensland manufacturers—leading to more affordable gas and supporting jobs across our critical supply chain and industries," he said.

Meanwhile, Stewart has been very silent on coal.

There has been no blueprint for the enlargement of the Queensland coal industry since he was appointed last year.  

The historic 1968 Central Queensland Coal Associates Agreement put Queensland's coalfields on the global resources map half a century ago.

Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane recently said that this historic agreement should not be forgotten today.

"Just as that historic agreement established a new foundation for growth in investment, jobs, production and exports in Queensland's coal industry at the time, a well-implemented Resources Industry Development Plan will take our industry to a whole new level," he said.

Hogsback agrees that Queensland may be on the verge of an historic new era for resources but coal is still in the number one export from the Bowen Basin.

Government policy and focus should be aimed to leveraging as much advantage and competitiveness of the industry so that it can continue to prosper in these uncertain times.