Almost 18,000 direct jobs and support for 58% of Mackay region employment makes it clear that without a thriving coal industry, the only way for regional employment is down.


Jobs matter to us


In a 2018 report to the Queensland Resources Council, analysts Lawrence Consulting measured the direct and indirect value to the Mackay region of $1.1 billion in wages paid by resource companies to 17,974 local employees.


Subsequent spending from this direct economic injection (97.5% from coal) was estimated to support another 38,342 jobs and generate an additional $4.9 billion in the local economy.

The total impact of the coal industry’s 2018 contributions to the Mackay region were calculated to be:

· $9.3 billion – 43% of Mackay’s total Gross Regional Product

· 56,317 FTE jobs – 58% of total Mackay region employment

Based on this data and the overwhelming importance of the coal industry to the Mackay region, RIN members, their employees and families are concerned the 2019 Federal election campaign could degenerate into a vote trade-off between regional Queensland and inner city voters in Sydney and Melbourne.

There is real concern that investment in new metallurgical and thermal coal mines in the Bowen and Galilee Basins could be stalled by Federal Government policies bowing to political pressure from activists promoting misinformation about the Australian coal industry and making uncontested claims about its future in global energy production and steel manufacturing.

Today, the Bowen Basin contains most of Queensland’s highly sought metallurgical coal reserves (used in steelmaking) and significant deposits of thermal coal, which is used to produce electricity in 77 countries.

The Bowen Basin is home to 44 coal mining operations.

Further west, the Galilee Basin contains extensive world-class resources of predominantly high-volatile, low sulfur thermal coal with development plans well advanced for six major black coal deposits on the eastern margin.


At the turn of the century, Galilee Basin coal resources were poorly understood with estimates of around 1.7 billion tonnes for open-cut and 530 millions tonnes for underground operations. By 2014, the total had grown to 23.2 billion tonnes of identified resources.




Bowen Basin population report (2018), Queensland Treasury:

Bioregional Assessments (coal), Australian Government (2014):



Note: The official statistical division of Mackay includes the local government areas of Isaac, Mackay and Whitsunday.

Why new mines?

Queensland is an established global supplier of minerals and energy commodities fundamental to economic development.


The story began in the 1950s with Japan’s ongoing appetite for Queensland’s high quality coal being duplicated by South Korea, China – and now – India and Southeast Asian countries also looking to lift living standards.


But continuing demand for Queensland’s metallurgical and thermal coal is not assured, particularly as new suppliers emerge and customers look to resources in either closer proximity or their own back yards (e.g. China, India and Russia all have more coal resources than Australia).


To be globally competitive, Queensland miners must meet customer specifications, deliver quality product on time and maintain an eagle eye on expenses against price benchmarking by lower-cost competitors.


Queensland has factors in its favour, including a virtual supermarket of quality resources and plenty of room in which technology and skilled operators are able to work at scale.


However, every mine has an economic working life. Discounting unexpected problems, there is always a point in time when it is no longer feasible to recover a mineral resource. When production costs overtake market price, the inevitable conclusion is the start of minesite rehabilitation.


With quality coal in particular, recovery costs per tonne start at the low end of the cost curve and keep rising as mining goes deeper, whether running open cut or underground operations.


To stay cost-competitive and ensure the continuing delivery of quality coals to our customers, continuing access to economical new resources such as those found in Queensland’s Galilee Basin is essential.



Anglo Coal Mine Life data -

Alternative path to the attached graphic:



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