MARKETS

Qld coal exports to reach record 220Mt

THE Queensland coal sector is on track to break new export records with international markets set to grow in the face of growing energy demands – especially from India.

Lou Caruana
Qld coal exports to reach record 220Mt

Despite the price downturn there was still significant demand for Queensland’s commodities, and in particular, coal, Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche said.

“Coal exports to end-May sit at about 200 million tonnes and are set to reach a new record of around 220Mt for 2014-15 financial year,” he said.

“This new record level of coal exports will be 5% higher than last year's 209Mt, driven by continued strong demand from China, Japan, India and Korea for the Bowen Basin's high quality coking coals, used in production of raw steel.

“In the medium term we expect those Queensland export numbers to increase with the growth in demand for Queensland thermal coal from energy hungry nations such as India.”

A recent report by the office of the chief economist in the Federal Industry Department revealed India's demand for coal was set to grow due to the construction of new coal-fired power stations that require the high quality thermal coal Australia can deliver.

Construction in India is also growing and Queensland is ready to supply more of its coking coal to service growing steel production.

“The Indian Minister for State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal recently said that coal will remain the mainstay of India's energy needs,” Roche said.

“From 2017, India's new coal-fired projects require high-energy low-ash coal. India's domestic coal is largely high-ash low-energy.

“There are 300 million people in India who don't have access to basic electricity and the Indian government has been clear it wants to change that.

“Despite the claims of the well-funded anti-coal activist campaign, the future looks bright for Queensland coal to meet strong energy and steel demand in developing nations.”

Meanwhile unions are warning that more job losses in the Queensland coal mining industry is on the cards with public hearings kicking off today in Central Queensland as part of the state government’s inquiry into fly-in, fly out workforces.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy union is urging all community members to attend the public hearings and speak out about the impact of compulsory FIFO on mineworkers, their families and local businesses.

North Goonyella

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Steve Smyth said that recent retrenchments at North Goonyella coalmine highlighted the urgency of ending 100% compulsory FIFO arrangements.

“More job losses mean hundreds more skilled local mineworkers in Central Queensland will soon be looking for work and unable to apply for a position at nearby 100% compulsory FIFO mines,” Smyth said.

“The compulsory FIFO arrangements at Daunia and Caval Ridge discriminate against local workers who must move to the big cities if they want to apply for a job.

“In many regional towns we have seen whole families forced to move away to look for work elsewhere.

“This has hurt our tight knit regional communities and local businesses. We have already seen devastating social and economic damage.

“Compulsory arrangements also mean workers are locked into the FIFO lifestyle and are not able to move locally with their families if their circumstances change.

“Employers should never be able to dictate where their workers live and how they travel to work.

“These hearings are a real chance for local people to have their voices heard and we are encouraging everyone to attend regardless of whether or not they made a submission to the inquiry.

“We are confident that these public hearings will further shine a light on the urgency of ending 100% compulsory FIFO in Queensland.

Hearings will be held in Mackay, Moranbah, Dysart, Middlemount, Emerald, Blackwater, Moura, Gladstone and Rockhampton.

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