PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Queensland coal royalties would soar to a record A$3.7-billion in the 2018 financial year, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) predicted on Tuesday.
QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said the A$536-million increase on the government’s previous royalty estimates would allow the state government to increase infrastructure spending by A$11.4-billion to A$11.5-billion, and a total of A$45-billion in infrastructure over four years.
“Projects like Convention Centre expansion in Cairns, the North Queensland stadium in Townsville, the M1 in south-east Queensland will be built and funded by coal,” Macfarlane said.
Macfarlane said the increased projections were owing to the strong international demand for metallurgical coal and the stable prices for both metallurgical and thermal coal from Queensland.
“This result would make 2017/18 a record 12 months for coal royalties in Queensland. The previous record was A$3.4-billion in 2016/17,” he said.
“What does A$3.7-billion in coal royalties mean for Queenslanders? It means their government has A$740 to spend on each of the five-million Queenslanders.”
“The increase in royalties of more than A$500-million alone is equivalent to the wages for more than 7 000 teachers or 7 000 nurses, who are so crucial for our health and education systems across the state.”
Macfarlane noted that in terms of the Budget bottom line, the increase meant forecast net operating surplus would be in excess of A$1-billion.
Meanwhile, Macfarlane noted the role of freight operator Aurizon cutting train services to move coal through the Central Queensland Coal Network to export ports was “extremely damaging” for the industry, the Queensland economy and the State Budget to be delivered on June 12, wiping up to A$500-million off the government’s royalty expectations.
“The only dark cloud on the horizon for the industry and the government is Aurizon. It’s maintenance changes in the Central Queensland Coal Network, by Aurizon’s own admission, will stop the movement of up to 20-million tonnes of coal each year,” he said.