News

Rockhampton and Gladstone becoming mining boom epicentres

The test pit at the GVK Hancock Alpha coal project in the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton.
The test pit at the GVK Hancock Alpha coal project in the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton. Patrick Hamilton

THE hiccuping of Queensland's traditional engine room in Central Queensland is being drowned out by the economic roars from new frontiers in coal and gas.

Mines in the Bowen Basin, west of Mackay, have long been the epicentre of the State's coal mining booms but new figures point to the emerging Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton and Curtis Island near Gladstone powering up to take its place.

New figures from the Federal Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics released on Wednesday showed record-breaking investment in Australia's resources industry.

BREE research found 87 committed developments worth $268 billion across the country with $78.4 billion or almost 30% coming from 22 projects planned for Queensland.

By comparison, New South Wales had 16 projects worth a total of $9.5 billion or 3.5% of the total.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance mothballed its Norwich Park and Gregory coal mines this year as coal prices waned.

It also postponed its Red Hill mine, a plan worth $2.2 billion.

Rio Tinto wound down its Blair Athol operation, which closed last week

Most mining giants also launched company wide cost-cutting measures, often cutting the number of contractors.

There were still 10 coal projects worth a total of $10.2 billion in the Bowen Basin, capable of creating at least 2800 building jobs and another 1610 to operate the mine.

On paper the figures appear paltry when compared with $60.8 billion being invested in liquefied natural gas projects near Gladstone.

Those projects will employ up to 17,000 through construction and up to 3000 once operating.

To the west, $23.15 billion is to be spent in the Galilee Basin, which - if all were successful - would deliver 130 million more tonnes of thermal coal a year for export.

BREE senior economist John Barber said the Bowen Basin lacked the enormous plans plotted for other parts of the State.

"There aren't that many mega projects in the Bowen Basin," Mr Barber said.

"There are some large ones, worth more than $1 billion, but not of the scale of the thermal coal and LNG elsewhere in the State."

Mr Barber said although there appeared to be a slowing in some areas, other parts of the State were making up for it.

"It's never a good thing for a community to have a project delayed or cancelled," he said.

"But when you look at a (state) level instead of regional impacts, it has seen growth due to those LNG projects," Mr Barber said.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson warned that big numbers did not guarantee a booming industry.

He said while mineral prices remained low, challenges would persist.

"In the face of lower commodity prices, the delivery of this pipeline of projects is contingent on keeping production costs down, providing access to skilled labour and increasing our productivity and efficiency," Mr Ferguson said.

Topics:  boom, gladstone, mining, rockhampton


Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Extra staff at Telstra for NBN switch

IT'S HERE: The Telstra team at the Whitsunday Plaza store where NBN arrived today. Photo Inge Hansen / Whitsunday Times.

NBN has gone live at Telstra stores.

A Q&A; with new Tourism Whitsundays CEO

FRESH FACE: Craig Turner is the newly appointed CEO of Tourism Whitsundays. Photo contributed.

Craig Turner is the new CEO of Tourism Whitsundays

Business thriving at Palm Bay Resort

PARADISE: Palm Bay Resort on Long Island is open for business and thriving despite locals believing Long Island is shut. Photo contributed.

Helen Scott wants locals to know Palm Bay Resort is definitely open

Latest deals and offers

TJ: Michael Jackson’s double Conway-bound

MICHAEL Jackson is coming to the Whitsundays.

Extra staff at Telstra for NBN switch

IT'S HERE: The Telstra team at the Whitsunday Plaza store where NBN arrived today. Photo Inge Hansen / Whitsunday Times.

NBN has gone live at Telstra stores.

A Q&A; with new Tourism Whitsundays CEO

FRESH FACE: Craig Turner is the newly appointed CEO of Tourism Whitsundays. Photo contributed.

Craig Turner is the new CEO of Tourism Whitsundays

Business thriving at Palm Bay Resort

PARADISE: Palm Bay Resort on Long Island is open for business and thriving despite locals believing Long Island is shut. Photo contributed.

Helen Scott wants locals to know Palm Bay Resort is definitely open

UPDATE: Man awaiting surgery after stepping on stingray barb

Paul Joiner's foot is sore and swollen after he stood on a stingray and the tail barb speared through the top of his right foot, causing an infection.

Paul Joiner is awaiting surgery after stepping on a stingray barb

What's on in the region this long weekend?

Wintermoon Music Festival, Camerons Pocket, April 30th- May 3rd, 2015. Photo Lee Constable / Daily Mercury

Take a look at what's on in the region this long weekend.

Federal Police Defuse Dance Bomb

Australian Federal Police respond to "threat" in Canberra.

Australian Federal Police respond to "threat" in Canberra.

NSW Police join Dance Challenge

NSW Police show their moves at Manly Wharf.

Manly Wharf is the backdrop to NSW Police running-man dance entry.

Scotland Police accept Dance Challenge

NZ Police doing the running man dance.

Australian Federal Police say watch this space but NT Police feel ignored.

Sales underway at exclusive real estate locations

Funnel Bay, a 55 acre waterfront development, is six minutes from the main street of Airlie Beach. Photo Lucy Smith / Daily Mercury

Residential blocks costing up to $2.25 million

Demand for acreage lots pushes up property prices

Property values in Cooroy have increased 25%

Property values jump in Cooroy and Peachester.

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog