Exports of coking coal were up 7.15% or 6.026Mt in 2003 and thermal coal increased 8.06% or 3.307Mt. Exports to Japan increased by 12.65% to total 50.726Mt for 2003.
Saleable coal production for the 2003 year totalled 156.118Mt, up 2.76% over 2002. Mines which contributed most to the increase were largely open-cut operations including the massive BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Goonyella/Riverside open cut operation and Peak Downs. Underground mines Moranbah North and Oaky Creek No 1 also contributed to the increase.
Total saleable production during the December 2003 quarter totalled 38.377Mt, a 1.16% decrease over the December 2002 quarter. Exports from Queensland for the December 2003 quarter were up 12.18% to 34.703Mt.
On the employment front some 11,123 workers were employed in the Queensland coal industry at December 31, 2003, compared to 10,278 workers a year earlier, and an 8.22% increase.
Productivity for the December 2003 quarter decreased by 15.88% from an average of 56.19 tonnes per shift for the December 2002 quarter to 47.26t/shift in the December 2003 quarter. Productivity for the 2003 year was 14,208t per person, down 1%. Average overall underground productivity was 9,945t per person while it was 15,504t per person for open-cut mines.
Coal sales within Queensland in 2003 totalled 24.980Mt, up 5.9%, mostly destined for electricity generation.
Looking at the breakdown by mining method, opencut mines produced 130.639Mt in calendar 2003 and 32.249 Mt in the December 2003 quarter. Longwall mine production was 25.042Mt in calendar 2003 (down nearly 4Mt on 2002) and for the December 2003 quarter was 6.003Mt, also down on the 7.679Mt produced in 2002. Problems at a few Queensland longwall mines towards the end of 2003 dragged down the output for the December quarter.
These statistics have just been released by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.