Ports exporting record amounts of coal despite downturn

EXCLUSIVE

COAL mines may be struggling but Mackay's coal ports just recorded their strongest ever January for coal exports.

The latest coal export data has shown Abbot Point exported 2.1 million tonnes of coal in January - about 1 million tonnes more than in January 2012.

Hay Point exported 4.6 million tonnes of coal - about 1.2 million tonnes more than January 2012.

Dalrymple Bay exported 5.8 million tonnes of coal - about 1.7 million tonnes more than in January 2012.

The Gladstone Port exported 5.8 million tonnes of coal in January - more than 1 million tonnes more than in January 2012.

Statewide about 19 million tonnes of coal were exported - most out of ports in regional Queensland.

Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said although international prices were hurting mining companies, there was strong international demand for Queensland's coal.

"The coal ports of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay, Hay Point and Gladstone all had their strongest ever January," he said.

"Contrary to what a lot of activists are saying, the demand for Queensland coal hasn't gone away.

"There is a global oversupply of coal but we're still able to sell what we produce."

He said Queensland Government coffers continued to benefit from the coal exports - even though a recent QRC study found one in three of the state's coal mines were operating at a loss.

"If the Queensland government wants to see this strong export performance and flow of royalties continue, then they need to work with industry on a comprehensive plan to deliver some breathing space."

Mr Roche suggested this week governments could provide tax and royalty relief to mining companies.

Anti-mining activist Drew Hutton told Guardian Australia this week miners already received billions in support from government.

"The industry is inherently cyclical and there is no case for industry relief. The industry should have been prepared for the inevitable downturn," Mr Hutton said.

But Mr Roche rejected the claims and said resource companies currently received "nine-tenths of nothing" from governments.

Mr Roche said a promised meeting with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was yet to happen but he was hopeful they would meet in coming weeks.

- APN NEWSDESK



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