Drivers of Growth
Export demand is what drives resources. Like agriculture or tourism, we sell to a global market.
Global demand fundamentals
Queensland supplies the world with a broad range of elements, energy, minerals and metals; but fundamentally we are in the business of supplying the world’s economic development. Our resource exports are either energy fuels, like thermal coal and gas, or the building blocks of development (copper, zinc, aluminium and metallurgical coal for making steel). We also “export” our electricity south to NSW and the National Electricity Market.
While the drivers of demand in individual markets can vary, what they all have in common is that economic development drives demand for our resources. The industrialisation of Japan, then Korea through the 1950s and 1960s saw a huge demand for resources from Queensland. While that foundation demand continues, it is now overlaid with demand from rapidly growing economies like India, China, and Vietnam.
Every three months, the Office of the Chief Economist at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science produces a report called the Resources and Energy Quarterly, which forecasts the price, volume and export earnings from 12 of Australia’s largest resources and energy export commodities. They note that:
- “As the world’s largest coal exporter, and potentially the world’s largest LNG exporter around the turn of the decade, Australia is an energy superpower.”
- “Australia has identified resources of around 415 years of uranium, 280 years of black coal, 50 years of gas, and 30 years of oil at current production rates.”
- “The long-term outlook for metallurgical coal, which accounts for two-thirds of Australia’s total coal export earnings, is relatively positive: there are no proven competitive substitutes for metallurgical coal in blast-furnace steel-making and the ongoing urbanisation and industrialisation of emerging Asia will require steel.”
For Queensland’s metalliferous miners, the electrification of transport and the inexorable growth of renewable energy sources is creating important demand growth for existing minerals and metals. It’s also generating global interest in Queensland’s ability to supply strategic minerals and rare earths.