PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Queensland’s resource exports reached a record high of A$77-billion between March 2021 and March 2022, a report by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) revealed last week.
A State of the Sector report for the March 2022 quarter shows strong prices and increasing demand for Queensland commodities is driving the industry to never-before-seen levels of performance.
QRC CEO 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.
Macfarlane said resources companies will pay more than A$6-billion in royalties this financial year – an all-time record amount 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.”
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, or 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, or 63%, of our member CEOs expecting to invest in reducing emissions from their operations over the next 12 months.
“Forty-two percent also confirmed their company is contributing to research and development into low-emissions technology and practices.”
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 having agreed to form a joint venture to develop the Kogan Renewable Hydrogen Demonstration Plant near Chinchilla. A 700 kW hydrogen electrolyser will be powered purely by behind-the-meter solar energy, making it one of the few, truly renewable hydrogen projects in Australia.
Meanwhile, Aeon Metal’s Walford Creek copper/cobalt project is also 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, while majors 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. Twenty-one vendors have now …….