According to the data released by Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Water, total saleable coal produced during 2005 was 172,706Mt, an increase of 3.109Mt or 1.83% over the corresponding period in 2004.
Output for the December quarter dipped 1.5% to 42.5Mt saleable coal produced while exports dipped 4% to 34.58Mt.
The new opencut mines of Eaglefield and Rolleston as well as the underground Grasstree mine all increased output as they ramped up to design production levels.
In 2005 coal exports to Japan rose by 2.504Mt or 4.82%, while exports to Europe fell by 1.097Mt or 4.06%. Exports to India increased by 17% and to Taiwan by almost 27% to 8.4 million tonnes. Coking coal exports were up by 7.237Mt or 7.47% while thermal coal exports dipped 5% to 2.235Mt.
Coal production used within Queensland totalled 26.665Mt, an increase of 2.45% with 89% used to produce electricity.
The coal mining sector directly employed 16,783 people at the end of 2005, an increase of 3628 positions or 27.5%.
Output of saleable coal per employee as well as per employee shift decreased in both the quarter to December 2005 and in the 2005 calendar year, the department said.
Average production per employee was 10,574 tonnes in calendar 2005, compared with 12,892 tonnes in calendar 2004.
“The coal mining sector's performance in recent years has been very robust,” said Mines Minister Henry Palaszczuk.
“The Government is working with the industry to strengthen its performance and outlook."