Boiler Maker Chris Dore from DGH Engineering grinding a part for a transport frame. Picture: Tony Martin
Boiler Maker Chris Dore from DGH Engineering grinding a part for a transport frame. Picture: Tony Martin

Why mining will heal Mackay quickly after COVID-19

MACKAY will be the envy of Queensland after the coronavirus pandemic due to its strong links to the state's resources sector.

That's the prediction being made by industry leaders including Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane, who said Mackay would be the state's "standout economic performer" after the crisis.

"As it is now, mining in Queensland and Australia is a crucial industry," Mr Macfarlane said.

"In Queensland, we're underpinning 80 per cent of the exports and providing some 372,000 full-time jobs.

"We're going to continue to be a very important part of the economy and will continue to pay significant royalties of about $5 billion a year."

According to the QRC, Mackay's enviable status post-pandemic would come down to the region's position as a service centre for the Bowen Basin.

"More than $12 billion a year goes into Mackay from the resources industry, so that's a big number," Mr Macfarlane said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane. Picture: Jerad Williams
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane. Picture: Jerad Williams

"It means that Mackay will be in a much more optimistic space than places like the Gold Coast and Cairns where their reliance on tourism has seen their small business community absolutely shattered and unemployment numbers jump."

Mackay would also benefit from a global "recovery phase" in six months time where metallurgical coal demand would be strong, Mr Macfarlane said.

The majority of coal exported out of the region's ports is metallurgical coal for steelmaking.

"You can't build cars, you can't build buildings, you can't build bridges, you can't build anything without metallurgical coal," he said.

Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke said it was critical that mining supply chain businesses continued to work through the crisis.

Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke. Picture: Tony Martin
Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke. Picture: Tony Martin

"Their message to us is: Make sure we can stay open, make sure we're seen as an essential service," Ms Rourke said.

"We understand it is not positive times for everyone.

"But while we can, we're making sure that the supply chain sector here in Mackay can continue to operate, because then they can spend their money locally."

RIN has worked with businesses in recent weeks to ensure they followed COVID-19 health and safety measures and social distancing.

Ms Rourke said resource businesses across Mackay had taken action to stop the virus spread by implementing split shifts and helping administration staff work from home.

Greater Whitsunday Alliance chief executive Kylie Porter said she hoped mining in the Isaac region and Mackay's METS sector would help support the Whitsundays tourism and hospitality industry, as had occurred during the Global Financial Crisis.

GW3 CEO Kylie Porter
GW3 CEO Kylie Porter

"We've got to look at how this region performed during the GFC - this region had unprecedented levels of growth during that time," Ms Porter said.

"While the rest of the world was struggling to find their way, this region performed exceptionally strong because we have those really diverse base industries that we could really rely on."


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