The Queensland government must help prop up the state's ailing coalmines or risk losing thousands of jobs, a lobby group says.
Coal mines losing money
One third of Queensland's coal mines are running at a loss and in urgent need of state government assistance, according to the Queensland Resources Council.
The Queensland Resources Council will ask the premier for a range of emergency relief measures, after commissioning a study that paints a bleak picture for the coal industry.
The report, by mining sector analysts Wood Mackenzie, found a third of Queensland coalmines were running at a loss, and more than half of the mines producing thermal coal for power stations were in the same position.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche said 21,000 jobs had been lost in the state's resources sector.
He expects more to go, and says it's time the state government does something to protect the 60,000 jobs that remain.
He will take proposals, including a emergency royalties regime, to a meeting with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her jobs committee.
Mr Roche said he commissioned the study after a summer of dire meetings with mining and gas company chiefs.
"They were saying this is one of the most challenging times in the last 50 years, never seen it this bad," he told ABC radio on Monday.
"If the unprofitable mines are to shut down it would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars."
Mr Roche said the only reason some of the coalmines were still open was because they had fixed rail and port charges to cover.
"So even in these grim times, the government and private sector service providers of port, rail, energy and water services - they are not offering any relief."
He wants the premier to look at what government-owned and private sector providers can do to ease those pressures.
The report found LNG producers were covering their cash costs, but it would be a long time before they started turning a profit.
The government recently refused to guarantee a loan to help Clive Palmer's Townsville nickel refinery keep trading. The refinery later axed 237 jobs and went into voluntary administration.
Mr Roche was asked why coalminers should get government help when Mr Palmer was refused.
"We're not looking for a bail out," he said.
"We are looking for the government to recognise that one of the biggest job generators in this state, one of the biggest sources of government revenue, is under huge pressure."
The state government has been contacted for comment on the report.