Qld coal exports hit record highs

COAL exports from Queensland hit a new record of 220 million tonnes in 2015, up 2% on the previous record of 216Mt in 2014 with higher demand from India.
Qld coal exports hit record highs Qld coal exports hit record highs Qld coal exports hit record highs Qld coal exports hit record highs Qld coal exports hit record highs

Gladstone Harbour. Courtesy: Gladstone Ports Corporation.

Lou Caruana

With the benefit of the destination data produced by Gladstone Ports Corporation, we know that coal exports from Gladstone port to India (which accounts for about two-thirds of Queensland’s total coal exports to India) actually accelerated in the second half of 2015, according to Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche.

Coal exports from Gladstone port to India in the six months to December 2015 were more than 19% higher than in the same period of 2014 and nearly 24% higher than in the first six months of 2015.

“This evidence of a growing Indian market for Queensland's lower-emission high-energy coal refutes the anti-coal activists' claims about the economics of new coal projects such as the proposed Adani and GVK Hancock mines in the Galilee Basin,” Roche said.

“With this latest confirmation of the strength of Queensland coal exports, it should come as no surprise that Queensland Treasury is now expecting an increase in royalties from coal in 2015-16, compared to estimates at the time of the state budget.”

New record export numbers were achieved at the ports of Gladstone (72.0Mt), Hay Point (44.4Mt) and Abbot Point (27.2Mt) with exports at Dalrymple Bay virtually unchanged at 69.3Mt.

Over the four years of the forward estimates, coal is expected to deliver $8.3 billion in royalties (unchanged from budget estimates) which will be used to pay for essential services such as schools, hospitals and roads.

With the Queensland coal industry responsible for 8% of all jobs in Queensland and supporting over 11,000 Queensland businesses, Queensland Resources Council-commissioned research has found community sentiment towards the coal sector remains strong, according to Roche.

“In stark contrast to poll numbers touted by various anti-coal groups such as the Greens and The Australia Institute, the research undertaken for the QRC by the independent polling firm JWS Research, found that 72% of Queenslanders had a favourable or neutral view of coal mining and less than a quarter (23%) of Queenslanders had an unfavourable view,” he said.

“In fact, 42% of the state’s population had a favourable view of coal used to produce steel, with 28% neutral and only 13% unfavourable. A similar number, 36%, were in favour of coal used to make electricity with 33% neutral and 22% not in favour.”