UPTURN: Andrew Barger believes Mackay is perfectly placed to benefit greatly once the coal market improves.
UPTURN: Andrew Barger believes Mackay is perfectly placed to benefit greatly once the coal market improves. Tony Martin

Mackay mining industry has competitive advantage

THE Director of Infrastructure and Economics for the Queensland Resources Council, Andrew Barger, believes Mackay is perfectly placed to not only ride out the current mining downturn but excel once the industry has improved.

Speaking at the Australian Railway Association's Heavy Haul Rail conference held at the MECC yesterday and on Wednesday, Mr Barger said the point of difference Mackay had compared to other regional centres was the amount of concentrated engineering excellence.

"Mackay is not just a regional centre for skilled people... it's also a network of business expertise that you can bring to bear on a whole range of problems," Mr Barger said.

"It's recognised that there are a significant amount of small engineering companies in Mackay servicing mining companies who are exporting and those companies have been overlooked during the boom and they are now starting to get attention.

"I believe those companies are the strong selling point for Mackay because that expertise isn't concentrated anywhere else and it's an expertise that lends itself to servicing practically anything and those problem solving skills are difficult to replicate offshore.

Mr Barger said due to Mackay's competitive advantage the region had the knowledge and know-how to ride out the tough times.

"We saw some good prices in coking and thermal coal prices at the beginning of the year but it is probably too early to say we have turned the corner," he said.

"Queensland's customers appreciate the value of coal and that is going to grow and the Mackay market is well regarded to benefit greatly once the market improves."



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