|21 July 2011|
What was shaping as a record year for coal exports from Queensland has ended with a performance only marginally better than that achieved during the global financial crisis according to a Queensland Resources Council analysis.
Chief Executive Michael Roche said that based on first quarter totals, Queensland was well on track to export more than 200 million tonnes of coal in 2010-11.
'However, as a result of the record rainfall from September that extended into widespread flooding of coal-producing regions, Queensland's annual exports fell some 40 million tonnes short of that projection,' Mr Roche said.
'The 163 million tonne total confirmed by port data is 21 million tonnes down on the previous year and just four million above what we were able to export during the global financial crisis.
'Exports for the month of June 2011 were 14.7 million tonnes – the strongest monthly total in six months – but 19 percent below June 2010 figures.
'Unfortunately, this confirms our worst case scenario in that the industry is still working at around 80 percent capacity, which is not surprising when you consider it is carrying a Sydney Harbour's worth of water into the next wet season.'
Mr Roche said coal companies were investing heavily in preparations for the next wet including the construction of additional on-site water storage, pipelines, pumps and water treatment plant.
'They are also eagerly awaiting the findings of a review into the state government's Fitzroy Basin Model Conditions, which govern off-site water discharges by coal mines.
'Mines need to be in a position to manage another wet season as well as address the legacy issue of some 500 gigalitres of water stifling coal production six months after the floods.'
REPORTER NOTE: 40 million tonnes of coal is valued on averaged prices at $7 billion.
Media contact: Jim Devine 3295 9560 or 0412 190 021 (a/h)