COAL COUNTRY: A locomotive pushes coal wagons up the range to Mount Morgan.
COAL COUNTRY: A locomotive pushes coal wagons up the range to Mount Morgan.

Mines minister pushes for more coal production in CQ

THIS is the latest instalment in our 1918 historical feature where we look back at the stories, people and events that shaped our region from the 1918 editions of The Morning Bulletin.


In his recent address before the Royal Geographic Society of Queensland, on the mineral resources of the state, the Minister for Mines, the Hon. A. Jones, emphasised his view that a country which owns its own railways should develop its coal resources.

Many people who recognise quite frankly the shortcomings of private enterprise in regard to some of the huge deposits in Central Queensland will feel sceptical as to whether Government intervention will spell faster progress.

At all events the problem is to have a practical test, for the Government is said to be developing the measures at Bowen, the Styx River, the Dawson Valley, and at Warra.

These places are a considerable distance apart, and as all the different coals are of good quality for steaming purposes they will all be used on the railway in their respective localities, thus saving a deal in freight, as compared with present supplies.

The Bowen coal was described as of large extent and almost all that could be desired.

The state has reserved a portion of these measures, and is testing the seams by boring, and a railway to the field is in course of construction.

The Dawson Valley beds have been opened in country subject to river flood, and this has retarded operations and delayed development of seams known to be of good quality.

At the Styx River the coal is of splendid quality, but so far as boring went the seams appeared to vary in thickness.

A word of praise was also given to the Blair Athol measures on Peak Downs, where the enormous seam, given by Mr Jones, as 91ft. in thickness, has advanced the problem, as yet unanswered, of how the deposit can be turned to where power is needed.

The Warra seam is on the western railway, 180 miles from Brisbane, and though the seam is small it is of value, being so far west from the measures about Ipswich. It is well to remember that both Ipswich and Burram coals are suitable for the manufacture of metallurgical coke, a commodity greatly needed in Queensland.

The Minister spoke strongly on the need for the introduction of up-to-date methods of making coke, so that all the valuable by-products now wasted could be turned to account. He truly said that though there is waste in almost all factories and smelters, the greatest waste in the mining industry is in the present mode of making coke.

These waste products were all valuable, and of course should be turned to profitable account.

The Minister stated that in some of the states in America it has been enacted that coke shall not be manufactured unless the by-products are saved; and he further asserted that similar conditions should be insisted upon in this country.

From this remark it is possible the Government may contemplate introducing a measure to make the utilisation of the by-products compulsory.

Mr Jones did not enlarge so much on the iron deposits of the state as might have been expected, merely describing them as extensive.

A much stronger term would hardly have done justice to the millions of tons of high-grade iron ore in what may be termed the Rockhampton district, to say nothing of the enormous deposits of the whole state.

Mount Biggenden, in the Minister's own district, alone is specially referred to, but high-class as the ore deposits may be, there is nothing to show it exceeds in quality and extent some of the deposits in this district, nor are they more conveniently situated to be operated on than those about Rockhampton, where coal and limestone are also in profusion.

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