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
Applying for a resource authority
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
- Queensland exploration and investment resource package is a comprehensive guide for potential explorers and investors. For a free copy, contact the Geological Survey of Queensland hotline.
- Read about investing in Queensland mining for information on investment support, exploration opportunities and current tenders.
- Search for applications, grants or resource authorities in an area using our free public search services.
- Use MinesOnlineMaps to view the location and boundaries of resource authorities.
Maps, data and publications
- MinesOnlineMaps, our online GIS service, has tenure, geoscience and resource information.
- QDEX Data lets you download large spatial data sets.
- QDEX Reports has geological maps and reports to download free of charge.
- Geological Survey of Queensland sells a range of maps, data and publications.
- The Resources Queensland mobile app lets you access investment information from your mobile device.
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.
Coal technical publications
- Electric power from competitive sources (PDF, 280KB)
- Queensland coals - chemical and physical properties, colliery and company information - 14th ed, 2003 (PDF, 1.9MB) - also known as the 'Green book'
- Queensland high energy coals for the Asia-Pacific thermal coal market (PDF, 218KB)
- Queensland high energy coals for the PCI market - advantages for low volatile coal (PDF, 289KB)
- Significance of coal nitrogen in the combustion process (PDF, 55KB)
- Utilisation of Queensland's low and high volatile coals in power generation (PDF, 457KB)
- Utilisation of Walloon coals of Southern Queensland for power generation (PDF, 1.25MB)
- Walloon coals: their properties and power station performance
You can also access other publications, including coal-related historical publications (PDF, 132KB), from QDEX Reports.
Contact the Geological Survey of Queensland for geoscience, exploration and investment information.
- Last reviewed: 24 Sep 2018
- Last updated: 24 Sep 2018