North Australia Digest – 11/9/12

by 11 September 2012

Here is a digest of today’s major stories that impact North Australia:

Australian Financial Review

The Queensland government is set to raise royalties on coal production in Tuesday’s state budget today, despite tough market conditions that have caused more than 2000 job losses in the Bowen Basin since May and threaten the viability of growth projects.

Matthew Stevens writes in the AFR that ‘…despite warnings from a host of the world’s most powerful miners that an increase would only speed the drift to marginality of the state’s mature coal projects…[and undermine] potential for new investment,’ the Queensland government is set to raise royalties.

Trade data indicates China’s economy may be heading to its weakest growth rate since 1990, sapping demand for iron ore, coal and other important Australian products.

The Newman government is moving to boost its share of skilled migrants coming to Australia with a review of requirements that have forced workers to choose other states.

The Australian

High costs and sliding prices have caused more than 3500 mining job losses in the past six months, with a worsening outlook for coking coal threatening to bring more cuts to the sector.

The Age

Australia’s coal industry continues to shed workers, with more than 2000 jobs lost this year as thermal and metallurgical coal prices slide, costs rise and Chinese demand softens.

China’s exports grew more slowly than expected in August and it imported fewer goods, triggering fresh fears that Australia’s most important trading partner is struggling to control the speed of an economic slowdown.

There is media speculation that Fortescue Metals and the Roy Hill iron ore project might do a deal to share infrastructure, rather than construct separate rail lines. This could save both companies more than $1 billion, industry sources say.

Courier Mail

Mining taxes will be ramped up in today’s QLD State Budget, setting the Newman Government on a collision course with coalminers and the Commonwealth.

BHP Billiton is shoring itself up against a rapid deterioration in its coal business, with prices halving in a year and no end to the downcast conditions in sight.

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