Queensland, the mineral-rich Australian state, has increased the royalty on coal in the state's new budget, causing widespread disgruntlement among miners reeling under soaring costs of production and falling prices for the commodity.
The 2012-2013 budget presented today by treasurer Tim Nicholls hiked the royalty rate for coal from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent for coal valued at over $100 a tonne. It would further increase to 15 per cent once coal prices hit $150 a tonne. The royalty for coal less than $100 a tonne will remain at the current level of 7 per cent.
The Queensland government said once the royalty rates peak it would then give a ''guarantee'' to the mining industry not to increase royalties for another 10 years.
The treasurer said the 'royalties for the regions' programme will improve the infrastructure and roads in the resource regions.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche said: ''The worse than feared hike in coal royalties announced in today's Queensland budget means more job losses, the risk of further mine closures and the near certainty that numerous major new coal projects will not see the light of day.''
''The hike could see Queensland grab the dubious honour of the highest taxing coal jurisdiction in the world,'' Roche further said.