Mining still employs tens of thousands despite downturn

TENS of thousands of mining and gas jobs in Queensland are still on the radar, even if crumbling world conditions mean fewer major projects are likely to go ahead.

Federal boffins have found there are still projects worth billions for Queensland, even if the total number has fallen in the past six months.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said this post-boom era would create more consistent jobs instead of short-term construction work.

Despite this, he conceded more mine closures were likely.

The Bureau of Resource Energy Economics released their bi-annual Resources and Energy Major Projects report on Wednesday.

It showed while the torrents of cash once being invested in coal and gas in Queensland was slowing to a trickle, exports were building.

"While the investment phase lasted for around five years, the output phase will last for decades," the report said.

"(It will) deliver an ongoing stream of economic benefits such as employment, royalties and ongoing operating expenditure in Australia".

In Queensland there are 91 major projects worth $172 billion, from those barely on the drawing board to those under construction.

It includes the Queensland Curtis LNG and Australia Pacific LNG projects worth more than $40 billion and already under construction off Gladstone.

The bundle of six proposed Galilee Basin mega coal mines, capable of creating more than 29,000 jobs are also included.

The GVK Hancock Alpha and Kevin's Corner projects, along with Adani's Carmichael Coal are considered the most advanced.

However, the numbers of projects is falling.

Since BREE's October report, 16 Queensland projects worth about $22 billion have vanished.

When asked how many of these are likely to eventuate Mr Macfarlane said "some will, some won't".

"I guess it's always been the way in terms of the resources industry," he said.

"We are in a down cycle. It will inevitably cycle up. A lot of these mines are built on a 30 year perspective."

The Minister said with 12,000 jobs lost from coal mines in Queensland and New South Wales, more could follow.

Mines are stuck having to pay rail and shipping costs whether they export coal or not, but if shutting down a mine saves money, that is what will happen.

"Chances are we'll see closures," he said.

"We are seeing positive signs the industry is addressing their costs of production which got away from them when it was just about getting coal on ships."



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