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Beefed up price forecasts for key metals including copper, zinc and aluminium will help feed investment confidence in Queensland, says the Queensland Resources Council.

Fitch Ratings this month revised mining and metals price assumptions upwards for 2021.

It said prices for many commodities would benefit in the short term from returning demand while the supply response remained slow and inventories were running low.

“The price revisions by Fitch Ratings highlight the recovery the QRC has been talking about for months,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“The hit to global demand from COVID is short term and the world will continue to demand our materials for economic growth in the long term.”

He said supportive prices for copper, zinc, aluminium and gold are welcome for Queensland’s metals industry, which directly employed more than 13,000 full time workers in 2019-20.

Metals make up about 18 per cent of Queensland resources exports ( $9.4 billion in the 12 months to Nov 2020).

Mr Macfarlane said copper prices demand would be supported by  growing demand for low emission technologies such as electric vehicles and wind generators. 

Electric cars need four times as much copper as standard cars and there are four tonnes of copper in a single wind turbine, according to BHP on its ‘Think Big’ copper facts page.

Aluminium producers such as Rio Tinto in Queensland are also set to benefit from aluminium consumption in electric vehicles.

Mr Macfarlane said recovering steel production in India, Japan, South Korea and Europe was welcome news for Queensland metallurgical coal exports.

“Metallurgical coal accounts for roughly half of our resources exports ( over $25 billion in the 12 months to Nov 2020),” he said.

“Queensland’s geographic location and coal quality, compared with most global competitors, will support demand for Queensland met coal in the long term.”

Meanwhile heightened electricity demand as business activity returned across the globe after COVID-19 disruptions was good news for the state’s thermal coal and LNG exporters.

Together, thermal coal and LNG made up about one third of Queensland resources exports last year.

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