Despite the prospect of an estimated $2.3 billion worth of lost sales from wet season events beginning early December 2010, Queensland’s export coal industry is moving with determination to restore the state’s leading income earner.

Reporting to the state government’s economic recovery coordination taskforce, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said that many of the state’s 57 producing coal mines were working around the clock on removing floodwater from mine sites and securing access to rail transport.

‘QRC estimates that about 15 per cent of the state’s coal mines are in full production, with 60 per cent operating under restrictions and a further 25 per cent yet to resume normal operations.

‘At full production, the coal industry is worth $8.5 million a day to Queensland taxpayers through royalties paid to the state government.

‘It’s essential that the industry is given every opportunity to get back on its feet to restore that flow of much-needed funds to the state government after such a horrendous start to the wet season.

‘Until December 2010, the coal industry was on target to deliver the production volumes underpinning Queensland Treasury’s forecast of $2.8 billion in royalties to Queensland taxpayers this financial year.’

Mr Roche praised the efforts of both the state government and coal rail network owner QR National in supporting the coal industry’s recovery.

‘QR National has restored the Moura line to Gladstone and we are hoping for similar good news for the Blackwater system later this week.

‘However, it is also clear that the restoration of rail services to mines west of Brisbane and in the Surat Basin are going to take much longer.’

Mr Roche said that to take full advantage of the prospective return of rail services, coal mines and some coal seam gas sites need further dispensation from the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) to pump flood water into nearby creeks that feed strongly flowing watercourses.

The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), Department of Planning (DoP) and Industry & Investment NSW (I&I NSW) have completed joint NSW government agency environmental compliance and performance audits focused on the management of dust from coal mines to help improve environmental performance.

Hong Kong-based mining investor Regent Pacific Group has formalised a $345 million bid for junior iron ore miner BC Iron.

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