Jun 17, 2021


Jun 17, 2021

Townsville-based Resources Minister Scott Stewart must come clean on Government forecasts for minerals production out of the state’s most important resources region, Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has said.

Mr Katter, who challenged Mr Stewart on the subject in Parliament this week, said the Minister’s non-response to his question had been disappointing. 

“Scott Stewart was unwilling to tell Parliament, and therefore unwilling to tell Queenslanders who are in desperate need of some sort of economic hope for the future, what the Government is forecasting for minerals production out of the North West Minerals Province,” he said.

“My whole electorate, and a big part of Townsville, relies on the NWMP.

“So if the Government is forecasting a decline in the region, the Minister needs to let us know.”

2021-22 State Budget papers released this week indicate mineral royalties are expected to remain stable but dip slightly over the next four years, delivering $487 million to the State’s coffers in 2021-22.

It’s predicted $466 million will delivered in 2022-23, $485 million in 2023-24 and $480 million in 2024-25.

This is despite near-global consensus that international demand for the minerals (including base and precious metals) produced by the NWMP will skyrocket in the coming decades.

For example, global miners and financial institutions including Glencore, BHP and major banks are forecasting substantial increases in global demand for copper, nickel and cobalt in the next 30 years.

It’s expected global copper consumption will double to 60 million tonnes per annum, while nickel and cobalt consumption will almost quadruple to 9.2 million tonnes and 507,000 tonnes per annum respectively.

Mr Katter said the single barrier to the NWMP, and therefore the Queensland economy, being at the forefront of this boom were the region’s prohibitive power prices.

The NWMP is not connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM), and instead relies on a gas-powered energy monopoly that charges mining companies some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

“Right now in the North West Minerals Province, we have the highest power prices in the industrial world – up to $200 a megawatt hour if you are trying to start a mine in Mount Isa,” Mr Katter said.

He said there was about there is about $700 billion worth of unmined potential in the NWMP at present.

The metals industry in Queensland currently supports about 60,000 direct and indirect jobs, with the majority based in the North West. [1]

In October last year the Queensland Premier and Treasurer issued a media release that said, if connected to the NEM through the CopperString 2.0 Project, the NWMP could add an additional 3,500 FTE jobs and an additional $154 billion in minerals production out to 2050. [2]

Mr Katter said Minister Stewart had to either support or refute his colleagues’ claims, and be clear as to what Treasury’s predictions were for the future.

A video of Robbie’s Question on Notice delivered on June 16, and the Minister’s non-answer, can be found here:

[1] 2019_Metals.pdf (

[2] Media Release – CopperString Agreement.pdf (