Michael Roche, chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council, said in its June State of the Sector Report that the state’s mining companies are expecting the federal election campaign to focus on providing clarity on four key issues: taxation, environmental approvals, exploration and carbon emission management.
“In an all-out effort to spread high fixed costs over more tonnes, the Queensland coal sector as a whole is delivering some extraordinary uplifts in production and exports that will confirmed at the end of the June quarter,” he said.
“In June 2013, Queensland coal exports were one-third higher than in June 2012, and for the first six months of 2013, coal exports were up by 15% on the same period in 2012.
“New production capacity has come on line but we will inevitably see more job cuts and more mines or parts of mines put on care and maintenance.
“Coupled with high structural costs, the added burden of carbon costs and the likelihood of an oversupplied global coal market well into 2014, coal companies will continue to take prudent cost-cutting measures to ensure their viability.”
One piece of good news was Queensland’s resource diversity, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that “mining and resources” full-time employment had remained steady over the past 12 months at about 73,000 people, according to Roche.
“Clearly, coal employment is down but the gas industry is on the rise,” he said.
Roche said QRC member companies were also drawing comfort from overwhelming public support, with the latest public opinion polling for QRC showing support at 82% statewide.
This includes voters who are yet to decide who to support at the next election and voters in marginal electorates.