Friday, March 3, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Central Queensland is no stranger to the boom-and-bust cycles of the mining industry. However, the recent announcement that BHP, the world's largest mining company, plans to sell off two major coal mines in the region has sent shockwaves through local communities and raised concerns about the future of the state's resources sector.
The mining giant’s decision to sell off Blackwater and Daunia mines has sparked concerns over worker entitlements and the local communities that have sustained them.
The Mining and Energy Union Queensland President, Stephen Smyth, has called on BHP to provide ongoing support to the affected communities.
"BHP must guarantee that workers' entitlements will be protected throughout this process, including their contractor workforce," he said.
"And I call on BHP to make a commitment to providing ongoing community support - especially to the town of Blackwater which has supported the Blackwater mine for over 50 years of its operation by BHP."
The Queensland Government's decision to introduce the world's highest coal royalty tax has been cited by BHP as a contributing factor in its decision to sell off the mines.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane has warned that the royalty increase makes Queensland uncompetitive in attracting investors.
"BHP indicated the two mines would struggle to compete for capital under its current global investment plans, which is why the Queensland Government should be doing whatever it can to attract investors, not scare them off with the world's highest royalty tax rate," Mr Macfarlane said.
“While it’s hoped a new buyer will be found, the decision to sell the mines will create uncertainty for the employees at these two mines, their families, local businesses, and the local communities as the divestment review takes place over the next 18 months.”
Releasing its six-monthly review, BHP said the Queensland Government's decision to raise coal royalties to the highest rates in the world meant the fiscal environment was no longer competitive or predictable enough for BMA to make significant new investments in Queensland.
"This again confirms that the State Government's new royalty rates, introduced suddenly and without industry consultation, has made Queensland uncompetitive," Mr Macfarlane said.
In response to the concerns raised by BHP and the Queensland Resources Council, the Queensland Government defended its decision to increase coal royalties, stating that the revenue generated from the tax would be used to fund important infrastructure projects across the state.
The Queensland resources sector is the state's biggest industry, contributing $94.6 billion to the state's economy and supporting the jobs of around 450 thousand Queenslanders.
"The State Government needs to urgently reconsider its royalty tax increase before other companies join BHP in divesting their Queensland assets, threatening thousands of future jobs and jeopardising the state's economic prosperity," Mr Macfarlane warned.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane