Queensland’s mining lobby has admitted a third of the state’s coal mines are losing money and it wants taxpayers to pay the bills.
A new report, commissioned by the Queensland Resources Council, has found a third of the state’s coal mines run at a loss and more than half of the mines producing thermal coal for power stations are losing money.
“This report, commissioned by the industry itself, shows the coal industry is finally realising the age of coal is over,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“The coal industry employs only 0.4 per cent of the Australian workforce, but gets hundreds of millions of dollars every year in subsidies.
“Despite this special treatment, it appears the industry is not financially viable.
“Instead of continuing to shovel public money down the mine shaft to an industry with a use-by date that has expired, ACF urges the federal and Queensland governments to invest in industries with ongoing job opportunities, like renewable energy and tourism.
“This is no time to be contemplating opening new coal mines.
“Employment in Queensland is growing (up 2.8 per cent from 2014), while jobs in mining are shrinking, suggesting the rest of the economy is recovering from the negative impact of the mining boom.
“It’s time for governments to prepare for the end of the coal industry – with fair transition plans and comprehensive mine rehabilitation,” she said.
ACF is challenging the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval of the Carmichael project in a Federal Court case scheduled to be heard in Brisbane in May.
ACF will argue that Minister Hunt failed to consider whether the impact of climate pollution, resulting from burning the mine’s coal, would be inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations to protect the World Heritage-listed Barrier Reef.