After a prolonged downturn, Queensland mining exports are showing renewed signs of life with a major spike in activity.
The State Government recently reported a $1.6 billion increase in Queensland’s overseas merchandise exports during the year to the November quarter in 2016, fuelled by a big jump in the value of hard-coking coal and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports.
Acting State Treasurer Bill Byrne welcomed the turnaround, saying the jump represents a 12.4 per cent nominal value increase in the period.
“In the 12 months to November, the value of Queensland’s exports totalled $49.5 billion, what this shows is the significance of Queensland as a major global exporter of key resources and agricultural products,” he says.
“However we recognise not all sectors or regions are making the transition to a post-mining boom economy as well as others, and we will continue our financially responsible efforts to stimulate more growth and jobs across our state.”
Authorities predict higher coal contract prices will support further growth in export values in coming months, but hard-coking coal spot prices are tipped to fall in coming weeks.
“Queensland Treasury estimates that LNG exports increased $728 million over the year to November quarter 2016 to $1.9 billion,” Byrne says.
“The final two LNG production trains commenced exports out of Gladstone during 2016, meaning there are now six production trains on-line. As a result, LNG exports are expected to drive strong economic growth of 4 per cent in 2016-17.”
Zinc is also expected to make a comeback.
“While zinc and lead production has fallen over the past year, a strong recovery in zinc prices over 2016 appears to have encouraged additional supply, with Glencore’s zinc production rising 13 per cent in September quarter 2016 compared to the June quarter,” Byrne says.
“Aluminium and copper were the only major mineral exports to record an increase in export volumes over the year, although not enough to offset the decline in export prices.”