Mining Pro recently brought together key industry players to celebrate the benefits of coal to Queensland and deliberate the current trends and topics affecting the sector. We find out more about the event with Chairman, Grant Wechsel.
Queensland is a highly prospective exploration and operational destination endowed with diverse reserves of coal, minerals, and petroleum and coal seam gas.
In August 2023, the capital of Queensland, Brisbane, played host to Mining Pro’s coal industry event at Blackbird Bar & Grill.
Mining Pro is a mining services business founded to partner with mine owners predominantly in the coal sector across Queensland and New South Wales (NSW).
The company’s leadership and site teams execute operational mining plans that allow its client partners to focus on running safe, productive, and profitable mining operations.
Hundreds of skilled miners across open cut and underground projects are employed by Mining Pro, whose largest operation is at the Curragh Mine in Queensland.
Mining Pro is a member of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), an independent industry body representing the commercial developers of the state’s minerals and energy resources.
The idea behind Mining Pro’s coal industry event was a simple one – to get the sector together and openly celebrate the enormous benefits that it provides to Queensland and Australia as a whole, while also discussing current trends and topics in the coal industry.
In front of a packed room, the event was hosted by Chairman, Grant Wechsel, who led a panel discussion about the current challenges facing coal producers, including the impact on investment from the state government’s decision last year to dramatically increase coal royalty taxes.
Joining Wechsel on the panel was QRC CEO, Ian Macfarlane; the Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald; and Commodity Insights Director, Mark Gresswell.
The panellists were united in their concern that the move has seriously jeopardised future investment in Queensland projects, with investors less likely to commit long-term capital to a state that now charges the highest coal royalty tax rates in the world.
In a quickfire Q&A, we speak to Wechsel about the event, the contributions of coal to Queensland, and his personal highlight from the evening.
Q&A WITH GRANT WECHSEL, CHAIRMAN, MINING PRO
Can you tell us more about the enormous contributions of the mining industry, and coal, to Queensland?
Grant Wechsel, Chairman (GW): Mining in general, and particularly coal mining, plays a pivotal role for Queensland. One in every six jobs in the state comes from mining, and we proudly play a small part in the industry’s massive AUD$94 billion total contribution to the state.
Can you provide some key details about the recent coal industry event presented by Mining Pro? How did the event bring the coal industry together and celebrate the benefits it provides to Queensland?
GW: We started the event on a smaller scale last year. Coal has become somewhat of a dirty word and hasn’t been publicly promoted that broadly in the state. A lot of that is due to a lack of understanding, as Queensland’s premium metallurgical coal is the best in the world and a key component of the global demand for steel.
As a privately-owned and founded company, it was therefore easier for us to step up to the plate and host the event on behalf of the industry without any restriction from shareholders, funders, or third-party pressure. It was fantastic to bring together so many familiar faces from the industry for a terrific evening.
In addition, what trends and hot topics affecting the industry were discussed at the event, and who were some of the key panellists?
GW: We were very lucky to have the support of Ian Macfarlane, CEO of QRC, from early on. Ian is a champion for our industry, and it was great to get his insight.
He was joined by Senator Susan McDonald, and between them, they passionately spoke of the importance of the industry not just to Queensland, but all of Australia. They also ardently opposed the Queensland government’s coal mining royalty taxes, which have had a significant impact on the industry in recent times.
Finally, they were joined by Mark Gresswell, Director of Commodity Insights, who provided some great information and a short-term outlook on both metallurgical and thermal coal prices.
As the host of the coal industry event, what was your personal highlight from the evening?
GW: It was great to see all the guests on the night thoroughly engaged in the panel discussion with plenty of questions. There are actually a lot of great people in our industry, and if we can get together more, we can represent our industry better as a whole.