QRC leads drive in US and Qld to highlight critical minerals potential globally and locally

THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) is participating in high-level meetings in Washington DC and Mount Isa concurrently today in related moves to help drive Queensland’s critical minerals potential to attract more overseas investment, drive more international trade and create more local jobs and economic prosperity.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane is in Washington DC as part of a delegation led by Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan’s Australian critical minerals delegation to further develop the US-Australia trading partnership on critical minerals. QRC director Andrew Barger will be attending the New Economy Minerals Summit with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and senior Ministers in Mount Isa. 

“Queensland will be at the forefront of the development of critical minerals for Australia and the world, whether for defence industries, manufacturing, trade and regional development,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“These rich reserves will help support the global expansion of renewable energy and battery storage technology and the uptake of electric vehicles.”

Mr Macfarlane said Queensland’s metal industries, including bauxite and copper, was already enjoying significant growth.

“Three years ago, the metals industry supported 47,252 full-time jobs and injected $7.8 billion into the Queensland economy," Mr Macfarlane said. "Last financial year, there were almost 61,400 jobs and an $11.7 billion boost to Queensland's economy.  That’s a 30 percent increase in jobs and a 50 percent increase in economic benefit.”

Mr Macfarlane said QRC and the Queensland Exploration Council had been working with the Federal and Queensland Governments, " ... and we welcome their recent announcements to increase investment in the sector, including the commitment to upgrade the Townsville to Mount Isa rail line and an $80 million four-year subsidy for commercial freight users on the Mount Isa line".



Plummeting price of sugar not so sweet for Aussie growers

By Dan Hadley >>

AUSTRALIAN sugar cane growers currently face one of the most difficult economic periods in the history of Australian sugar production. India’s recent glut of sugar into the world market by primary producers has driven down the cost of sugar significantly.

India’s increased production of raw and refined sugar in the last few years, off the back of subsidies, has led to more than 30 million tonnes over the 2018/2019 year. Just three years ago this number stood at just over 20 million tonnes.

As a result, the global sugar price has plunged to a 10-year low of US$0.0983 per pound in the September period on the back of India’s announcement of an additional US$1 billion in sugar subsidies.

Market fluctuation in October have left the price back in the US$0.12 per pound which translates to just over A$390 per tonne.   

Further volatility with significant downward spikes is expected though, and this temporary relief may be the calm before a storm of medium term reduced pricing.

The competitively priced sugar from India has meant some countries cannot produce and sell sugar above the wholesale market price.


Where growers input costs of production are higher than the minimum market cost, Australia may see cane growers going out of business.

Cane growers and millers are essential to many jobs in regional Australia and account for an important export due to the quality of Australian farming. That aside, these recent price reductions may see a number of regional job losses and a higher use of imported sugar verses domestically produced here in Australia.


In response, Australia, Brazil and Guatemala have submitted a joint application to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to establish a dispute panel to investigate whether India has breached its international trade obligations within the sector.

This application seeks to address India’s significant internal subsidies to Indian cane growers and restore market balance. These matters fall within the WTO’s international trade dispute resolution rules.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham indicated that it was “time India was held to account for its market distorting policies on sugar”.

“We have raised our industry's deeply held concerns on numerous occasions with senior levels of the Indian Government," Mr Birmingham said.

In the meantime, Australian sugar cane growers and millers are doing it tough. 

Australian sugar produce may be deemed too pricey and left to rot leaving a sour, rather than sweet, taste in the mouths of Australian consumers.

Dan Hadley is a British/Australian economist and business management consultant for JLB based in Adelaide, South Australia. 

Global trade news series from BBC Global News driven by FedEx Express

THE BBC’s international commercial news division, BBC Global News, is being backed by FedEx Express in the launch of a new multi-platform series on global trade.

The series Made on Earth explores the story of the world’s remarkable and ever adapting trading networks, which help businesses reach billions of potential customers around the world.

According to the BBC, The editorial series reveals key moments, worldwide shifts and changing trends happening in the industries involved in creating eight everyday products – spices, paper, coffee, flowers, whisky, handbags, bicycles and semiconductors. From rose farmers in Kenya to florists in the UK, brewers in Scotland to bar managers in China, Made on Earth takes audiences on a journey across the world to discover the reliance on global connectivity for consumer goods. 

The commercial deal involves FedEx Express becoming the exclusive sponsor of the new TV and digital series on BBC World News – which is watched by over 100 million people every week –and BBC.com, which reaches more than 110 million unique users each month. 

To appeal to an even wider audience base, the series will also be subtitled into local languages to appear on international BBC News sites including BBC Afrique, BBC Brasil, BBC Chinese, BBC Mundo and BBC.jp in Japan, adding extra value to the deal.

As part of the partnership, the BBC has created a bespoke digital hub at BBC.com/madeonearth. The hub will feature articles, links to episodes on the BBC’s dedicated video streaming section, BBC Reel, and a series of commercial films created by BBC StoryWorks, BBC Global News’ commercial content-marketing division, which will also be available on BBC World News and on selected BBC social media handles.

Following the first run of the series in the autumn, the Made on Earth content will retain its presence on the BBC’s platforms, ensuring ongoing audience engagement.

BBC StoryWorks and Advertising executive vice president, Sean O’Hara said, “International trade plays a crucial role in providing people around the world with access to products which enhance their daily lives, so we are delighted to join up with such a prestigious global brand as FedEx Express to offer audiences this fascinating insight into the vast trading networks which shape the way in which we all live.

“This commercial partnership allows FedEx Express to tap into the global reach and credibility of BBC Global News – on TV, online and social media.”

FedEx Corporation executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer Brie Carere said, “Global trade is our business. This strategic partnership with BBC Global News gives a voice to the entrepreneurs, manufacturers and consumers of goods from around the world and shows the endless possibilities available. 

“The unique combination of the BBC’s compelling storytelling and worldwide reach will ensure that the subject of international trade will make an impact with audiences globally.”




Coal and LNG exports lift Queensland's financials

STRONG GLOBAL demand for coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) has lifted Queensland’s export numbers by 13.8 percent to $87.4 billion over the 12 months to August 2019, according to the latest trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the strong result showed the ongoing importance of the resources sector to the State’s economy.

“Coal exports grew by 11.5 percent or an extra $3.9 billion while Queensland’s second most valuable export, gas is also enjoying strong volumes, with EnergyQuest’s data showing Queensland sent 8.2 petajoules of gas to other states while exporting 27 cargos of LNG worth $1.42 billion in August,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“It’s no wonder that the Port of Gladstone is setting export records this year. Mining, along with agriculture, is a vital primary industry that creates jobs and investment. Behind every billion in export values, there are jobs in local towns, and support for regional communities," he said.

The resources industry is a partner for our farmers who are doing it very tough during drought at the moment. The resources sector works hand-in-hand with the agricultural sector to support local economies and provide landholders with an additional income stream.

“That’s backed up by figures from the GasFields Commission that show as of 2018, the cumulative compensation paid to landholders by the gas industry was more than $505 million.

“These numbers demonstrate the co-existence model in Queensland is working well with farmers able to diversify their income by allowing companies to responsibly develop gas on their land. The current drought Queensland is experiencing is distressing and while it’s not the answer, the income from LNG companies can assist."

Mr Macfarlane, who recently returned from a trade trip to China with StateTreasurer Jackie Trad said Queensland has what the world needs.

“Our sector delivered more than 80 percent of Queensland’s export earnings. In dollar terms, exports from coal, minerals and gas are worth just under $200 million every day,” he said.



US-China trade war a new type of 'cold war'?

By Leon Gettler >>

THE trade war turned currency war, between the US and China, is a misnomer.

According to Michael Every, Rabobank’s head of financial markets research Asia-Pacific, who is based in Hong Kong, it’s actually a cold war.

One that will take decades to resolve.

“Fundamentally what the US wants and what China wants are vastly different,” Mr Every told Talking Business. “This is a clash between the two that ranges from physical geography to ideology to currency to trade to economics and I simply don’t see where the middle ground between the two can be.

“One can describe it as a trade war, one can describe it as a currency war but both are merely the first stages in sub-sets in what is a much larger struggle. 

“Effectively the terms of what Trump is offering to China are open up your economy.  Make it look like the US or Japan,” Mr Every said.

“If you do that, fine, we can deal with you as one economy to another in an integrated global economy and if you won’t do that, we are going to decouple.”

Mr Every said that decoupling would be seismic shock for the global economy.

He said of all the economies that would suffer the most in that shift, New Zealand and Australia would be “number one and number two”.

Mr Every said there were already signs of this happening in Australia with the demand for coal falling and warnings from China about beef and wine.

He said all Australian exports would be affected, from tourism to students coming to study at Australian universities.


Mr Every agreed that China is playing the long game while Donald Trump’s focus is on the election in 2020.

However, he said, there are signs that this is changing in the US, not from Donald Trump himself but the people around him.

Mr Every said the recent speech given by Federal Member Andrew Hastie, in which he compared China with Stalin’s Soviet Union, was being echoed by others in the US. 

“Trump is probably the biggest dove and would be quite happy to do a deal but there are people all around him pointing out that if it can’t be done, then the US will roll up its sleeves and put on its knuckle dusters,” Mr Every said.

He said the US actually had a lot of experience playing the long game during the Cold War.

“Obviously, it’s forgotten how to do that during the last couple of decades of anything goes, and globalisation, and the belief that everyone’s a capitalist and we’re all going to get along and trade with each other,” he said.

“I don’t think it will take too long for the US to rediscover how it used to operate in the Cold War and rest back to that operating system.”

Mr Every said potentially this could lead to a mild global recession and, in a worst case scenario, it could be more severe than that.



Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.   

Nutricare chief warns of 'five traps to avoid' when business goes international

BUSINESSES are constantly trying to innovate and create the next big thing, attempting to expand and ultimately succeed. However, one business leader who has 'been there and done that' warns that many companies and business owners with dreams and aspirations to go global don’t make it – and he puts it down to five avoidable traps.

James Dutton, Australian entrepreneur and CEO of Nutricare – a company using premium, sustainable ingredients to create common health and personal care items – has seen the recurring mistakes people often make and even experienced a few himself. In fact, he will be speaking about these very challenges at the upcoming Retail Global conference in the Gold Coast this week, May 29-31.

“There are countless business traps, especially when expanding overseas, and often the simplest things can make the biggest mess," Mr Dutton said. "Listening to the right advice and learning from others' mistakes can help a business thrive. Conferences such as Retail Global are great places to hear the right advice and learn." 

Respected for his ability to grow and manage companies from seed to capitalisation, Mr Dutton has unique skillsets and knowledge gained over the last 25 years of his professional career. He has managed and commercialised businesses from motorsport, finance and e-commerce at both a national and international level.

Mr Dutton's in-depth and practical ‘hands-on’ approach and knowledge of business has propelled him through his career as a successful entrepreneur.

Mr Dutton provided the following five 'traps to avoid' when expanding a business overseas:

  1. Raising too much capital

"Businesses can raise too much capital when it is usually best to ‘leave it lean’. What can happen when there is too much capital is that there are either a) too many hands in the one basket and it can be easy to lose control or b) high valuations also tend to lead to high risk and makes the next hurdle harder to hit. It also doesn’t matter how much capital you raise, whatever the number is you will end up spending it over two years, so it’s best to start with less and grow the company at a steadier rate.”

  1. Not using your resources

“Lean on as many resources as possible but ensure it is only for a certain time period. Use those resources and then go and action those plans, otherwise your idea will never get off the ground. I made sure I found the right information in a short session while using as many resources as possible to make it happen. If you continue to listen to mentors the whole way through you won’t get anything done. Use gut decisions, rely on the right people and tap into assets in your landscape.”

  1. Growing too fast

“It can be a balancing act trying to grow your business at a rate sufficient enough for your resources, expenses and management. I learnt this the hard way and my business grew too fast. When excessive fast growth occurs entrepreneurs can lose track of finances and numbers, there are cash flow mistakes, and general ineffective business operations. When everything is balanced you will have more control of the company and the direction it goes in.”

  1. Not doing your research

“Make sure you do your research and groundwork. You need to do this to understand your landscape. The number one thing I have learnt from everything is understand the culture of where you are expanding to. If you don’t know the culture of the people you are going to deal with, you have no idea what is going to happen when you launch. Preparation is key.”

  1. Hiring the wrong people

“Many business owners will say the same thing – hire people you can trust. There are often areas that business owners excel at and others in which they are weaker in. These areas are where they need to depend on the right people especially when expanding overseas. Finding those people can be tricky but it is invaluable. We have attracted some fantastic people and also some really bad people. It is about learning how to put trust in the right people and keep a tight monitor on what’s happening every day."

“Business isn’t for the light hearted, you have to go for it and you have to go hard but in order to succeed you need to listen to the common traps businesses experience and avoid them where possible," Mr Dutton said.

"Learn from your mistakes and also learn from others."

James Dutton will be speaking at Retail Global  on the Gold Coast from Wednesday May 29 to Friday May 31.



Qld coal exports double, coal royalties grow 150pc

THE QUEENSLAND Government can thank a doubling of coal exports over the last four years for a new record in overseas trade of $83 billion, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

Mr Macfarlane said figures released by Queensland Treasury overnight show coal exports for the 12 months to February this year were $35.8 billion compared with $18 billion in the 12 months to February 2015, when Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Queensland Government was sworn in.

“Over the same period, coal royalties increased on $1.6 billion in 2014-15 to more than $4.26 billion this financial year. That’s a 150 percent  increase,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Without the coal royalties, the State Budget would be in deficit and the government’s capacity to deliver services and build infrastructure like Cross River Rail would be diminished. The Palaszczuk Government is forecast to receive an extra $1.9 billion in coal royalties between 2017-18 and 2021-22.  

“The resources sector — coal, minerals, petroleum and gas — account for more than 80 percent of Queensland exports. That’s more than $60 billion or more than $1.2 billion each week,” he said.

“The resources sector in Queensland exports more than all industries in New South Wales.
“To put that in context, for each of 316,000 men and women working in the resources sector, almost $200,000 worth of resources is exported on their behalf.
“When Queensland resources sector is strong, Queensland is strong,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The global demand for our resources is stronger than ever before.”
Mr Macfarlane said coal’s contribution to exports continued to grow, and it was driving royalty revenue for the Queensland Government and company taxes for the Australian Government.



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