Coal resources

Queensland has a rich endowment of high-quality coal, with an inventory estimated in 2010 at approximately 34 billion tonnes (Bt) (raw in-situ), identified by government and industry exploration. This includes both metallurgical (coking and pulverised coal injection or (PCI)) coals and thermal coals, with a substantial amount still considered potentially suitable for open-cut mining. This coal inventory is expected to be much larger now as a result of considerable exploration in the last five years, especially in the Galilee Basin.

Coal provides around 30% of global primary energy needs, generates over 40% of the world's electricity and is used in the production of 70% of the world's steel. Presently, there are 63 countries worldwide actively constructing or expanding coal-fired power generation capacity.

Demand for Queensland coal remains strong, with exports reaching a record new high of approximately 216.7 million tonnes (Mt), a 3.9% increase on 2013-14, valued at an estimated $23.5 billion for  2014-15 (as of 31  March 2016). Coal exploration expenditure in Queensland was $160.7 million in 2015, and $2058 million over the past 5 years (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Year to date (31 March 2016) for the 2015-16 exports are reported at 161.6 Mt, implying exports for nearly 220 Mt will be achieved in the current financial year.

There is high demand for Queensland's coking and thermal coals, which are low in ash and sulphur. Queensland's production and exports are expected to rise over the medium to long term based on significant local and foreign investment in new coal mining projects proposed for the Galilee and Surat basins.

Production and sales statistics

You can download annual coal statistics and quarterly coal statistics, which we compile from returns submitted by industry. For more detailed statistics, download the coal industry review statistics. To request historical information, email or call +61 7 3199 7915.

Applying for a resource authority

To explore for coal, you need an exploration permit for coal. You can apply through a call for tenders.

Exploration and investment resources

For more information on exploring and investing in Queensland, see the following resources.

Queensland's coal resources and industry

Queensland's resources industries

Investment information

Tenure information

Maps, data and publications

Exploration reports

Holders of resource authorities are required to submit a range of statutory reports on their activities. After a period of confidentiality, these reports and data are made publicly available through QDEX Reports.

Contact us

Contact the Geological Survey of Queensland for geoscience, exploration and investment information.