Coal reserves to last 184 years
EVEN as the government tries to steer Australia away from using fossil fuels through a carbon tax, our national coal reserves dwarf those held by most countries allowing at least another two centuries of mining.
A review of world energy supplies by petrol giant BP found Australia held 8.9% of the world's proven coal reserves, about 76.4 billion tonnes worth.
The only nations listed with more were the United States with 27.6%, Russian Federation with 18.2% and China with 13.3%.
However, the figures are somewhat fluid, as exploration in Queensland and across the country is expected to reveal more coal seams.
Based on Australia's current production and amount in reserve, BP estimated coal mining could continue at the same rate for 184 years.
Queensland Resource Council chief Michael Roche said the state was in an enviable position, supplying coal to the fastest growing regions in the world.
He said our coal reserves were known to be higher quality than elsewhere, adding estimates of coal reserves changed rapidly in the past 10 years.
"Less than a decade ago, the conventional wisdom was that the Galilee Basin held a little over 2 billion tonnes of thermal coal," Mr Roche said.
"Subsequent, more intensive exploration has confirmed resources of more than 28 billion tonnes with an expectation of 'more to come'."
Federal Resources minister Martin Ferguson told a Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference on Tuesday Australia had a supply of black coal - mined mostly in Queensland - to last 128 years.
He said with the world population increasing by almost two billion by 2035, largely in our prime export markets of China and India, the industry would thrive.