The promise of a secure and predictable Native Title system emanating from Prime Minister John Howard’s Ten Point Plan and culminating in state-based Native Title legislation was yet to deliver "any certainty over title or timing", according to Brisbane-headquartered QCT Resources Ltd. This had resulted in the processing of mining and exploration licences virtually coming to a standstill.
An equity holder in some of the Bowen Basin’s biggest coal mines, and operator of the Kenmare longwall mine near Blackwater, QCT said access to land for exploration for future mining reserves had been compromised by the need for Native Title determination prior to exploration drilling.
"No state-based process exists today," QCT chairman Allister McLeod said. "Exploration it the lifeblood of future mining investment in this country and it has been stalled by lack of facilitating legislation. Ongoing exploration is also required to ensure continuation of existing operations."
Meanwhile, McLeod said QCT was still stinging over the Queensland Government’s decision to raise royalties on the Gregory/Crinum and South Blackwater (including Kenmare) mines. It said benefits to the company and shareholders flowing from the easing of royalties payable on output from the Goonyella, Peak Downs, Saraji and Norwich Park mines was offset by the increase in royalties on its other production.
"At the time a decision was made to develop the Crinum and Kenmare longwall mines there was an agreement that the then negotiated royalty arrangements would be preserved for 15 years," McLeod said. "Representations to the Minister for Mines & Energy have been to no avail."