Generic view of coal train not far from the Anglo Coal German Creek mine, near the mining town of Middlemount, central Queensland.
Generic view of coal train not far from the Anglo Coal German Creek mine, near the mining town of Middlemount, central Queensland.

Why coal isn’t going away anytime soon

INTERNATIONAL demand for Queensland coal will remain strong for years as growth in India and South-East Asian markets offsets declining fossil fuel use in Europe and the US, according to the International Energy Agency.

The IEA's annual industry report found coal remained the world's largest source of electricity last year, accounting for 38 per cent of the global share.

It predicted coal demand would remain stable through 2024, driven by surging electricity generation and consumption for industrial uses in developing markets.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan and Queensland Resources Council chief Ian Macfarlane have welcomed a report from the International Energy Agency that predicts strong future demand for Queensland coal.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan and Queensland Resources Council chief Ian Macfarlane have welcomed a report from the International Energy Agency that predicts strong future demand for Queensland coal.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan seized on the report, saying it had forecast increasing demand for Queensland coal and a growing share of global coal trade through to 2024.

"We have some of the highest quality thermal coal in the world and the International Energy Agency report shows Queensland coal will be in strong demand around the world for many years to come, particularly in India and other Asian nations," he said.

He said Australia was in the box seat to capitalise on shifts in international demand as new coal-based electricity generation came on line.

"For the sake of Queensland jobs and our dynamic regional communities we need to grasp the opportunities that coal presents, both here and overseas," he said.

Australian coal production was predicted to increase from 409 million tonnes of coal equivalent (mtce) in 2018 to 444 mtce in 2024.

The report highlighted Adani's Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin as "probably the most controversial coal project currently under development" globally.

It predicted investment in coal projects faced "strong headwinds" difficulties for approving and financing new mines.

It found metallurgical coal projects were "progressing more swiftly" than thermal coal projects.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the report showed demand for coal-fired power was strong in the Asia Pacific region.

"Queensland has higher quality, lower emissions coal than many other exporters and our mines operate under the highest environmental standards," he said.

"People who argue the coal industry should be immediately shut down are pedalling a fantasy.

"We can support Queensland jobs, lift more people out of poverty and provide lower emissions coal-fired power through continued investment in Queensland's coal sector."


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