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Qld Resources Exports hit $77 Billion Record High Featured

A new report shows Queensland’s resources exports hit a record high between March 2021 and 2022, with producers sending a record $77 billion worth of coal, gas and minerals to overseas customers.

A State of the Sector report for the March 2022 quarter released by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) today shows strong prices and increasing demand for Queensland commodities is driving the industry to never-before-seen levels of performance.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said every Queenslander benefits from the sector’s prosperity because the royalty taxes paid by resources companies to the State Government increase as commodity prices rise.

“Resources royalties go straight into the Queensland budget to pay for doctors, nurses, teachers and other state-funded essential services and infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Macfarlane said resources companies will pay more than $6 billion in royalties this financial year – a record amount ever paid to a Queensland Government.

“International commodity price cycles are volatile by nature and dictated by the laws of supply and demand, so the resources sector is extremely pleased the current upturn in prices has come at the best possible time to help the Queensland economy recover from Covid,” he said.

“The downside is that just like everywhere else, our input costs have been rising, particularly for wages, because we pay our employees very well and we’re right in the middle of a major skilled worker shortage which shows no signs of abating.”

Mr Macfarlane said many resources companies are already well advanced in their plans to reduce emissions and improve their environmental credentials to remain competitive in an increasingly discerning and carbon-conscious international market.

“Our latest State of the Sector report found more than a quarter (26%) of our member CEOs are already using renewable energy to power parts of their operations and lower their carbon footprint,” he said.

“Queensland companies are serious about reducing the environmental impact of their operations, with almost two-thirds (63%) of our member CEOs expecting to invest in reducing emissions from their operations over the next 12 months.

“42 per cent also confirmed their company is contributing to research and development into low-emissions technology and practices.”

Mr Macfarlane said companies are considering a range of options to reduce emissions, including everything from electric trucks and electrification studies to supporting more renewables and solar and carbon farming operations.

“Hydrogen will also play a major role in decarbonising resource operations, with operators looking to hydrogen as a way to store renewable energy or power equipment and haulage vehicles,” he said.

Current projects under way involving Queensland resources companies include:

  • CS Energy and Senex have agreed to form a joint venture to develop the Kogan Renewable Hydrogen Demonstration Plant near Chinchilla. A 700kW hydrogen electrolyser will be powered purely by behind-the-meter solar energy, making it one of the few, truly renewable hydrogen projects in Australia;
  • Aeon Metal’s Walford Creek copper-cobalt project is embracing renewable energy, with solar PV expected to contribute over 30% of the project’s power demand and deliver lower power costs for the operation;
  • From next year, Queensland’s largest coal export terminal, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, will be powered solely by renewables thanks to a recent sales agreement with CleanCo;
  • BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale’s Charge On Innovation Challenge, facilitated by Austmine, is asking for technology innovators to develop concepts for large-scale, haul truck electrification systems. The project aims to help miners reduce consumption of diesel and significantly cut emissions from surface mine operations. 21 vendors have now been shortlisted, and first concept could be ready for site trials in the next few years.
  • Anglo American has unveiled a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck in South Africa which, if successful, will be rolled out across its global fleet. The 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck generates more power than its diesel predecessor and can carry a 290-tonne payload. The truck is set to be part of a fully integrated green hydrogen system, with green hydrogen to be produced on-site. If this pilot project is successful, it could remove up to 80% of diesel emissions at its open pit mines by rolling this technology across its global fleet.

Mr Macfarlane said the report revealed plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of Queensland’s resources sector.

“The survey found 50 percent of our CEOs expect demand for their products to increase as the world transitions to lower-emission energy sources, and a further one-third expect demand to remain steady,” he said.

“Only 17 per cent of CEOs expect a drop in demand for their products over the longer term, which is great news for the Queensland economy and for future employment and supply chain opportunities across the state.”

Sharing the top spot, the challenge of attracting and retaining skilled employees and worry about the global macroeconomy were identified by CEOs as their main areas of concern over the past quarter, with concern about the impact of rising input costs coming in at number three.

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