Employers have been told to urgently ramp-up mining activity because the nation does not have enough coal.
Newly appointed Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King wants every coal mine in Australia to lift production due to the growing energy crisis.
“To be honest it is the coal companies themselves, and the operators of the power stations, that need to get these [coal fired] power stations back online,” she said according to the Australian Associated Press.
“In the very short term, what we really need to do is to have the coal power stations come back online because that is the missing piece of the puzzle right now.”
King claims money should be no object when it comes to ramping-up coal projects because the nation is so short of the commodity.
“It would not matter how much money anyone put in right now. We just need the operators to get moving on fixing their [coal fired] plants,” she said according to the newswire agency.
The minister blamed the previous government’s failure to quickly act on blackouts, and hopes more coal will give every Australian working utility services.
“There have been unplanned outages for many reasons, many beyond the control of those operators – and I do accept that – but I hope they are doing their best to make sure this power source comes online as well,” she said.
Fellow Federal Energy Minister Chris Bowen is separately holding talks with state and territory counterparts to find short- and longer-term solutions to ease power prices.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) applauded King and predicts she will maintain the status of Queensland and Western Australia as “powerhouse resources states”.
“The minister knows first hand how important a high-performing, highly competitive resources sector is to the Australian economy, and will have a deep understanding of the employment and business opportunities that flow on from that for the wider community,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said in a public statement.
“She will also understand how essential the ongoing strength of the resources sector is to Australia’s future, as we navigate the COVID recovery phase and the challenge of addressing emissions reductions.”
Macfarlane hopes the minister will help expand industry access to skilled workers, new investment in commodities and the sector’s role in energy security. He also thanked outgoing Minister Keith Pitt for being a “highly effective, accessible and well-respected leader of the resources portfolio”.
QRC’s latest state of the sector report shows Queensland coal, gas and minerals exports totalled a record $77 billion in the year to March 2022.
Resources companies will also pay more than $6 billion in royalties in the 2022 financial year, representing the highest amount ever paid to the Queensland Government.
“The resources sector is extremely pleased the current upturn in prices has come at the best possible time to help the Queensland economy recover from COVID,” Macfarlane said.
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