QRC welcomes Labor commitment to metals, now needs mettle on coal

The Queensland Resources Council has welcomed Federal Labor’s commitment to new resource discoveries as a boost for the State’s mining industry, but it has urged Labor to be clear on its position for the future role of coal.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said Queensland had a huge potential, particularly through the North West Minerals Province, to develop the new economy minerals so essential for the global growth in renewable energy technology, electric vehicles and battery storage.

“Prior to the election, the QRC urged the Coalition and Labor to embrace this opportunity, and we welcome the announcement by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today,” he said.

“Any investment in additional investigation for resources, like $75 million for a road map for a new generation of mines, will help deliver new discoveries, new investment, new exports and new jobs for Queensland.”

Mr Macfarlane said in 2017-18, metals contributed $9.3 billion to Queensland’s gross regional product and supported more than 50,000 full-time equivalent jobs or the equivalent of 2% of Queensland’s workforce. The metals sector also contributed $370 million in royalties.

“Through policy and infrastructure – and fittingly the Townsville to Mount Isa rail line that is so important to that region reopens today after devastating floods earlier this year – we can grow that contribution to Queensland and Queenslanders,” he said.

Mr Macfarlane said he welcomed the role of CSIRO and Geoscience Survey in Federal Labor’s commitment, and he hoped there would be a prominent role for the State Government’s Queensland Geological Survey.

“CSIRO and Geoscience Australia are internationally renowned, so I welcome their planned role in Labor’s initiative. It dispels some of the criticism of their role in assessing the Carmichael Coal project’s Groundwater Management and Monitoring and Groundwater plan,” he said.

Mr Macfarlane said the contribution of metals continued to be dwarfed by the role of coal in the Queensland economy – coal contributed $43.4 billion to the Queensland economy and more than 215,000 full-time equivalent jobs or 9% of the State’s workforce. Coal royalties paid to the Queensland Government were $3.8 billion in 2017-18 and are expected to exceed $4 billion this financial year.

“During this Federal election campaign, where winning Queensland seats is so crucial, no Party should be vague about their commitment to coal,” he said.

“All parties, vying for Queensland support, should be clear on their own support for the development of new coal mines, particularly in the Galilee Basin, and the continuation of existing mines producing both thermal and metallurgical coal.”

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