12,000 jobs at stake: Call to fast-track projects
THE State Government has been urged to fast-track mining projects that promise to create 12,000 jobs and pump more than $24 billion into the Queensland economy.
The Queensland Resources Council has released a wish-list of projects that it wants the government to expedite approvals for including six major coal projects in the Galilee Basin that together will create almost 10,000 jobs.
The QRC also wants a start on other major coal projects including New Acland Stage 3 that is set to create 487 jobs, South32's Eagle Downs (500 jobs), Winchester South Whitehaven (450 jobs) and Olive Downs (1000 jobs).
Besides coal, QRC says priority should given to Multicom Resource's Saint Elmo vanadium project in the North West of the state that will create 250 jobs during construction.
Vanadium can be used to make steel alloys used in space vehicles, nuclear reactors and aircraft carriers as well as for renewable energy storage.
The projects in the Galilee Basin include the Galilee Coal and Rail Project that is set to create 2325 jobs, China Stone Coal Project (3400 jobs), Kevin's Corner Project (1600 jobs) and the Alpha Coal project (990 jobs).
The Queensland mining and energy industries joined agriculture as stand out success stories during the coronavirus lockdown, managing to maintain sizeable workforces and keeping the state economy ticking over.
As Queensland re-opens for business, both energy industry and resources sector leaders will exploit increased community support for the vital service they provide.
Projects such as Queensland's Adani Mine, approved but still subject to a well co-ordinated protest campaign by Green activists, will likely be eyed more favourably by policy makers anxious to get the national economy back on its rails.
Both energy industry and resource sector leaders will vigorously push governments to release more land for exploration and development, and remove "unscientific'' bans on onshore gas development.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the resources industry had to rapidly adapt to COVID-19 when the virus broke out.
"We have worked within the restrictions on worker movement to slow the spread and keep as many of the 372,000 Queenslanders who rely on us for their work and pay on the job,' Mr Macfarlane said.
"We have already been in talks with the Government about the recovery.
"We know we have a big role to play.
"Already, we have secured some interim relief for exploration companies that are the key to the new coal, metal, gas and oil discoveries''
Mr Macfarlane said before COVID-19, the resources sector was injecting more than $200 million ($74 billion per annum) into the Queensland economy every day.
"Queensland needs as much of that money in our economy as we can.
"The resources sector can do more - the world needs more than ever what we have."
Trade data, to date has remained relatively stable, he said.
"We still continue to provide 80 per cent of the state's exports, but commodity prices are volatile."
In the weeks ahead the council will prioritise its work with governments in streamlining approval process for new projects.
Like any new infrastructure, mines need to pass the full environmental and economic assessments.
"But Queensland cannot afford these projects to languish in the 'to be determined' pile,' Mr Macfarlane said.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association CEO Andrew McConville said energy supply was essential for economic recovery.
"As Australia looks towards an economic recovery, energy supply is essential,'' Mr McConville said.
"The Australian oil and gas industry will continue its focus to ensure safe operations and the sustainable, continuous supply of gas to all Australians who rely on it in their daily lives.''
Mr McConville said it was vital that all sectors of the economy remained in open and competitive markets.
"Governments must resist calls coming from some for intervention in the gas market that force non‑commercial outcomes,'' he said.
"Such approaches can discourage long-term investment, reducing production and undermining long-term energy security.''
A better approach was to support investments that helped increase supply, he said.
"In the current challenging environment, governments can help ease pressures by releasing more acreage for gas exploration and development and removing unscientific bans on onshore gas development.''
TOP 5 MINING PRIORITIES
New Acland Stage 3 - 487 jobs ($900m)
Winchester South Whitehaven - 450 jobs ($1 billion)
Olive Downs - 1000 jobs ($1 billion)
Galilee Coal and Rail Project - 2325 jobs ($6.4 billion)
Alpha Coal Project - 990 jobs ($10.8 billion)
South Galilee Coal Project - 1288 jobs ($4.2 billion)
Source: Queensland Resources Council
Originally published as 12,000 jobs at stake: Call to fast-track projects