OPINION: 3 factors that will shape the Bowen Basin in 2023

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We all know mainstream media loves to splash bad news and play up crises or drama. Forecasting trends and issues for the coming year in the mining industry is an easy target for gloom and doom – as any quick search will reveal.

But I’d like to bring a different view to you in this edition, plus a reminder to keep a level head and balanced outlook on the realities of life at the coalface. In many ways, 2023 is looking great. Here’s just three reasons that the year ahead holds yet another opportunity for our sector to excel.

Firstly, the rate of innovation and introduction of new ideas will continue to reach new levels this year, especially around carbon abatement and sustainability. The groundswell of active research and research funding injections from major producers in recent years is now translating to field trials and pilot projects that promise exciting change, with real benefits for the environment.

The Bowen Basin Mining Club’s 2022 Yearbook highlights just a few new innovations emerging in safety, technology and decarbonisation and clearly identifies the strong role the mining industry plays as early adopters – opening the way for other industries to follow.

And last year’s Queensland Mining Awards showcased many more amazing innovations which have true transformative potential for the near future – coming to a mine site near you!

The QMA 2022 Mining Contractor of the Year winner, SoilCyclers, with collaborators Innovate Enviro and Cammel Consulting, exemplified this with their topsoil generation project at Ensham Mine. Watch this space as their solutions for soil rehabilitation and waste reduction gain ground in other industries too.

Secondly, Queensland’s global position as an important source of the highest quality coal is unrivalled. And despite international politics or Federal and State government policy changes, the developing world still wants and needs our coal.

Yes, our customers may change, and we will have to adapt to supply chain challenges. But that’s nothing new for our industry – we’re used to ups and downs. It’s important to keep the main thing the main thing, and remember that a good percentage of the mineral resources that power the world’s major and emerging economies come from our mines.

Plus, we have an added advantage: our strong ESG performance and ethical regulatory governance compared to other resource-producing countries. We can be proud of who produces our coal, and how it is produced.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a look ahead without mentioning royalties, which will continue to be a major point of contention. While it’s not looking like Queensland plans to back down, we need to make sure those bumper royalties and extra taxation incomes get spent fairly in ways that benefit regional Australia and the Bowen Basin – the source of the state’s enormous resources wealth. There’s a great deal we can all do to shift opinions and share the facts, starting in our own crib rooms and office conversations.

So for a steady 2023, keep your eyes on the horizon and not on the swells that come and go. Set a course for your business focused on positive changes and solid bottom line outcomes. We’ll look forward to celebrating your wins at one of our regular networking events in 2023.

QATCF 12 Bowen Logo

Jodie Currie

Director, Bowen Basin Mining Club

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