The coal tenure landscape has changed materially in recent years. Since January 2013, more than 1100 pieces of tenure, approximately half, have been relinquished in Queensland. That equates to 386,384 km2, an area greater than the size of Germany.
Tenure held has contracted to the more traditionally explored and exploited areas around the Bowen, Surat and Galillee Basins. The majority of relinquished tenures has been outside established coal basins and may be considered more speculative. As at 31 May 2017 there was a further reduction to 1067 items of tenure. Of the 569 EPC’s currently held were 72% were granted prior to 2012.
Included in the consolidated footprint are the four areas advertised by the department CLR2016-17-1-1, 1-2, 1-3 and 1-4 within the Blackwater district.
The number of tenure applications and tenures has been steadily declining since 2010. In 2016, 10 new Applications were registered and 21 tenures granted. Of the 21 tenures granted 13 were ML’s, 6 were MDL’s and 2 were EPC’s.
Coal exploration expenditure in Queensland peaked at $718.8M in 2011-12. Since then exploration expenditure in coal has been declining by an annual average of 21%. In 2015-16 exploration expenditure continued to decline by 40% to be $119.1 million.