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Australia's Queensland Ups Coal Royalties



By Jo Clarke

June 21, 2022 - Australia's Queensland government has introduced new upper tiers to its coal royalty regime to earn additional revenue from higher prices from 1 July, adding to costs for metallurgical and thermal coal sales at current prices.

Queensland's coal mining firms pay 7pc royalty on the first A$100/t ($69/t) earned, 12.5pc on coal earnings at A$100-150/t and 15pc on earnings beyond A$150/t. From 1 July, mining firms will pay 20pc royalty on prices exceeding A$175/t, 30pc over A$225/t and 40pc over A$300/t. The new rates are progressive, so coal sold at A$310/t will attract a royalty of 40pc on just the top A$10/t, with 30pc on A$75/t, 20pc on A$50/t, 15pc on A$25/t, 12.5pc on A$50/t and 7pc on the remaining A$100/t.

The higher royalty tiers will mostly impact Queensland's metallurgical coal sales. The average hard coking coal export prices have been above A$175/t for five of the last 10 years, according to the Queensland government. Queensland's average thermal coal export prices have only been above A$175/t around 2.5pc of the time in the past decade, with those prices seen only in the past few months, Queensland's budget papers show.

The Queensland treasury has revised its volume forecast down by 10mn t/yr for the 2022-23 financial year ending 30 June to 196mn t/yr from its last forecast released in December because of lower demand and supply associated with a wetter-than-average year. But the treasury expects an increase in revenue next year based on the new upper royalty tiers across hard coking coal, semi-soft coking coal and thermal coal.

Meanwhile, neighbouring New South Wales kept its royalties unchanged at 8.2pc of the value of open-cut mined coal, 7.2pc of underground coal and 6.2pc of deep underground coal.

Argus last assessed the price for high-grade 6,000 kcal/kg NAR thermal coal at $375.91/t fob Newcastle on 17 June, down from a peak of $425.90/t on 20 May but up from $192.60/t on 7 January. It assessed the 5,500 kcal/kg NAR thermal coal price at $181.93/t fob Newcastle on 17 June, down from a peak of $287.15/t on 11 March but up from $110.76/t on 7 January.

Argus last assessed the premium hard low-volatile coking coal price at $377.75/t fob Australia on 20 June, down from a peak of $662.35/t on 14 March but up from $368/t on 7 January. It assessed the semi-soft coking coal price at $312.50/t on 20 June, down from a peak of $564.20/t on 14 March but up from $225/t on 7 January.


Queensland resources royalty, price forecasts  
  2021-22e 2022-23b 2023-24p 2024-25p 2025-26p
Volume, price forecasts          
Coal exports (mn t) 187 196 209 222 231
A$/$ exchange rate 1 1 1 1 1
Hard coking ($/t) 364 206 160 160 160
Semi-soft ($/t) 252 148 123 123 123
Thermal ($/t) 140 128 90 90 90
Brent crude ($/bl) 77 96 78 75 75
Royalty forecasts          
Coal royalty revenue (A$) 7,290 5,480 3,297 3,539 3,699
Petroleum (A$) 1,185 1,626 1,116 1,025 996
Other (A$) 483 538 505 488 494
Total royalty revenue, excl land rents (A$) 9,135 7,832 5,112 5,251 5,392
e = estimate, b = budget, p = projection




Australian thermal coal prices $/t




Australian metallurgical coal prices $/t