Coal sector misses out on concession from State Govt

THE Queensland Government has extended its hand to the struggling resources sector by halving the costs for mineral exploration permits over the next two years.

But the coal industry has missed out on the 50% concession announced by Mines Minister Anthony Lynham during parliament on Wednesday.

It follows a Queensland Resources Council-commissioned report that found more than one third of coal mines are running at a loss.

Dr Lynham said the government was investigating extending the concession to coal.

The concession and decision to consider extending the policy was welcomed by QRC chief Michael Roche.

Mr Roche said coal explorers' circumstances were "really no different to that of mineral explorers".

Dr Lynham said the concession would provide much-needed financial relief to mineral explorers and ensure meaningful exploration did not stall in Queensland.

"We've listened to industry - the Queensland Exploration Council, the Queensland Resources Council and the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies - and they tell us that it's difficult to attract investment capital in this tough global mining climate," he said.

"Our response is practical assistance that removes some cost pressures.

"For example, say there is a base metal explorer in the North West Minerals Province that holds multiple mineral exploration permits with a combined committed exploration expenditure of $2 million for the two years.

"The concession means up to $1 million they don't have to spend to meet their exploration permit conditions."

Mr Roche said the concession was an example of "how government can partner with industry to provide incentive and some breathing space in tough times without providing a handout or subsidies".

"We look forward to having the opportunity to discuss with the Premier and the cabinet jobs committee, a wider partnership plan to provide breathing space for the resources sector or, as the minister told the parliament... 'giving time for the market to recover'," he said.

"As QRC foreshadowed last week, job losses are an inevitable fact of the current severe cyclical downturn in commodity prices, but there are areas where government can partner with industry to alleviate the costs of doing business in Queensland to ensure we remain globally competitive." - APN NEWSDESK

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