QRC chief executive Michael Roche:
QRC chief executive Michael Roche: "Few regions anywhere in the country are likely to face the challenges and opportunities associated with growth of that magnitude." Contributed

Massive mining growth in store

GET ready for the next mining boom because it's on its way.

With $142 billion set to be allocated for proposed mining projects in the coming decade, the Bowen Basin can expect to welcome around 15,000 more mine workers.

The number of residential workers in the Bowen Basin is expected to increase by 25% to 21,900 by 2020 while FIF0 numbers are set to almost triple to 20,000.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said this would place even more strain on mining towns, which were struggling to keep up with the booming industry.

"It's no secret that the state's resource communities are feeling the strain of the last growth surge and there is limited, if any, appetite for another round given the lag-time in infrastructure and social service funding from governments," Mr Roche said.

"Over the same period, the number of non-resident resource industry workers in the Bowen Basin could rise from 7300 to 20,000 under a full growth scenario.

"Few regions anywhere in the country are likely to face the challenges and opportunities associated with growth of that magnitude, so it's important that we start 2012 with an eye on maximising the benefits for resource communities, the state and the nation."

The resource sector has learnt from Queensland's past summer of natural disasters. Mr Roche said 2011 would be remembered as a tragic and costly year.

As a result of the record rainfall from September that extended into widespread flooding of coal-producing regions, Queensland's annual exports fell some 40 million tonnes short of the 2010-11 projection of 200 million tonnes, he said.

In June last year exports totalled 14.7 million tonnes - the strongest monthly total in six months - but were 19% below June 2010 figures.

"Unfortunately, this confirms our worst case scenario in that the industry is still working at around 80% capacity, which is not surprising when you consider it is carrying a Sydney Harbour's worth of water into the next wet season," he said.

 

In the works

  • 40,000 more workers will be needed within Queensland's resource industry
  • FIFO: Up from 7300 to 20,000 (Bowen Basin)
  • Residential: 17,700 to 21,900 (Bowen Basin)

 



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