Australia is a vast continent that is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. In the Queensland area, one of the most plentiful natural resources is coal. Coal is vital to the economy of Queensland bringing in almost four billion Australian dollars per year in royalty revenue. Estimates are that the coal industry contributes as much as one in every six dollars to the Queensland economy.
This past year saw record coal values, and this also allowed for record coal revenues for Queensland. Queensland exported roughly 60 billion in Australian dollars worth of coal. This was a vast increase over the previous years numbers. Large gains were seen in metallurgic coal and in thermal coal exports.
There are at least two reasons for the uptick in Australian coal numbers. First, the amount of coal exports increased due to the fact that the overall economy around the world is on the rise. As industrial production ramps up, there is an increased need for coal to fire production plants. Coal power for steel plants in particular is still widely used in many developing countries around the world.
A second reason for the increase in coal exports is due to the increased prosperity of those in many developing nations. In these countries, there is still a heavy reliance on coal to produce electricity. As the middle class grows in developing countries, modernization occurs which in turn brings the need for more production of electricity.
Australia isn’t the only nation that has seen an increase in coal values and in coal production. In the United States, the amount of coal produced has increased steadily over the last year after several years of declining production.
Since the election of President Trump, there has been renewed efforts within the United States to remove some of the restrictions that were placed upon the coal industry by past administrations. This relaxing of regulations has allowed for an increase in mining and more coal production.
It is uncertain as to how long these increases in coal production will last. There is a push toward developing cleaner forms of energy in most of the developed nations of the world. As more energy is developed through wind, solar and natural gas sources, it can be expected that the amount of coal used in for the purpose of electricity production could decline over time. Coking coal for the purpose of creating steel, however, should remain steady.