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Fired up: Tensions rise as miners walk away from Government's vision


The mining sector has refused to attend the launch of the State Government’s plans for the sector and labelled it a “glossy document” as relations between the two sour over the huge hike in royalties imposed in the recent Budget.

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The Government will today launch its resources industry development plan, a scheme aimed at identifying opportunities for the clean energy era.

But the Queensland Resources Council has said both it and the Queensland Exploration Council would not attend as a protest against what it called “a decision to impose the world’s highest coal royalty taxes” which it said undermined the purpose of the plan.

The new rates would deliver an additional $1.2 billion to the Government over the four-year forward estimates and were designed to cash in on the boom for coal which has seen prices set records.

It came as the Federal Government’s Department of Industry forecast resources exports to reach $1.1 trillion over the three years to 2024, a figure that has been pared back by $20 billion because of skills shortage and floods.

It also said the value of resource industry exports topped $405 billion last financial year, an increase of almost $100 million. Coking coal exports were worth $58 billion, or 160 per cent more than the previous year.

However, QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the industry had taken Treasurer Cameron Dick at his word when he said he was committed to removing barriers to growth.

“We have to look at what the Government does, not what it says,” Macfarlane said.

“The Palaszczuk Government has hit the resources sector with a massive tax hike that risks jobs and threatens investment in all Queensland commodities, not just coal. A glossy document doesn’t change that.

“The QRC and our members have consulted extensively on the (resources industry plan) for the past two years because we wanted to see a strong resources sector and strong regional communities.

“The Government’s decision to introduce exorbitant new taxes _ done behind closed doors and without consultation _ has severely undermined any opportunities to achieve this outcome.”

BHP, which is the state’s biggest producer of coal but left the QRC over its political campaigning against the Greens, said it was “deeply concerned” about the negative impacts on obs and investment from the royalty hike.

“The cost of doing business in Queensland is already high, and further cost pressures will discourage investment, operational growth, job creation and local business spending across the state,” BHP minerals Australia president Edgar Basto said.

“A new tax damages Queensland’s reputation as a stable place to invest and will make it harder for the state to compete against other global jurisdictions in attracting major new investment that would deliver longer-term value to communities and the state economy.”

BHP was unlikely to have any of its senior leadership at the launch.

The Department of Industry report said Australian premium hard coking coal prices were expected to average more than $US420 a tonne in 2022, but was expected to fall by almost half as supply conditions normalised.

Prices would ultimately reach about $US220 a tonne by 2024.

Higher production in NSW and Queensland was expected to push Australia’s exports up from 171 million tonnes in 2020–21 to 174 million tonnes by 2023–24.

Australia’s metallurgical coal export values were forecast to track with price movements, rebounding from $23 billion in 2020–21 to peak above $60 billion in 2022–23, before falling back to $41 billion by 2023–24.




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