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"No going back'' - mining says it will adapt and survive


The Queensland mining sector contributed a record $84 billion to the economy in 2020-21 and about $58 billion came from coal, according to a Queensland Resources Council report.

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But even after a record year, the QRC has acknowledged there was no going back to the days when its existence was unchallenged and that it had to play a role in the transition to a low carbon economy.

The report came as the Palaszczuk Government released a draft resource industry plan which pushes the state towards new economy minerals, but leaves coal and gas untouched.

The draft plan won the backing of the Queensland Infrastructure Association chief executive Priscilla Radice.

“This state has all the essential ingredients to be a major global player in the new economy supporting future industries with future energy sources,” she said.

“Our position in ASEAN is incredibly bright. Not just exporting raw materials but manufacturing new products – things like green steel if it stacks up.

“Leaning in to catalyse the “crowding in” of new private investments (where stimulus is needed) is a smart play and suits the Queensland context. Planning an exit strategy for when the State should step out of this space will be needed.”

While the Government’s hands-off approach to fossil fuels is likely to be criticised by the environmental movement, the QRC report underlines the impact killing off the coal and gas sector would have. Mackay alone has 17,300 direct jobs in the resources sector and the industry contributed $8.6 billion to the Mackay regional economy.

The report also claims about 423,000 Queensland jobs were supported by the industry and 56,000 people were directly employed by the sector. Almost 10,000 were in Brisbane.

About $2.5 billion was paid by the sector in government royalties.

“The world is moving towards a new era of sustainable mining to meet the challenges of climate change and there is no going back,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“New, renewable energy options are emerging and the potential for hydrogen to play a major role in meeting the world’s future energy needs is being watched closely.”

“Climate change is a critical global challenge which must be addressed by all parts of society and the resources sector is absolutely committed to being part of the global solution.”

He said critical minerals that the Palaszczuk Government wants to exploit were being used in defence, medical and renewable energy.

“We have the resources, we have the right attitude and we will increasingly have the technology to drive transformation across the resources sector, so there are good times ahead for Queensland,” Macfarlane said.




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