QCLNG site on Curtis Island.
QCLNG site on Curtis Island. David Sparkes

Nuclear fears could increase demand for Australian coal

JAPAN'S concerns over nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster could open up major new markets for Australia's coal reserves.

HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said Japan's shift could prove a new avenue for export industries.

"The Japanese story is where there is a composition shift," Mr Bloxham said.

"That is favourable to Australia's LNG and thermal coal producers."

The Japanese government flagged in September it would try to stop using nuclear power within two decades.

Since then, it has been unclear whether the government would follow through with its plan, even as public angst over nuclear continues.

Thermal coal and LNG - both used to create electricity - are areas poised for massive expansion in Queensland.

Gigantic coal mines planned for central west Queensland's Galilee Basin will deliver millions of tonnes of thermal coal each year.

On Curtis Island off Gladstone, up to $50 billion is being spent on a trio of gas refineries that will begin exporting LNG to the world gas markets in 2014.