Mining industry executive and Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president, Karla McPhail.
Mining industry executive and Capricornia Chamber of Commerce president, Karla McPhail. Peter Holt

Central Queensland coal industry at lowest point in 10 years

THE coal industry may be experiencing its lowest point in a decade but Undamine Industries and Coal Train chief executive Karla McPhail said it had been a critical and necessary adjustment.

Her Central Queensland companies have steered a course through the turbulent waters by researching and responding to the changing needs of the mining industry.

Undamine Industries began operations 10 years ago, and Ms McPhail said this was the third correction they had seen.

"It's definitely the most severe and aggressive…with a lot of retrenchments."

The demand on Coal Train, a mine training company, has changed from skills training to supervisor training and working with teams to develop middle managment.

"It's about people management, accountability and management behaviours…getting teams working at their optimum performance level," she said.

Coal Train has worked hard to develop the businesses over the past six months, modifying courses to suit mine site programs.

"We're doing research to see where the needs are and working onsite with management teams," she said.

The industry was now leaner, meaner and more focused on productivity, performance and results.

"The resource sector is different now, it's reformed," she said.

"It's less numbers and more productivity...business managers are scrutinizing operations more carefully."

Karla McPhail was a Telstra Australian Businesswoman of the Year finalist last year and recently took on the role as president of the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce.

She has enormous respect for the mining industry, which she said was seeing positive movement in a good direction but said the carbon tax and mining royalties have had a big impact.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what an emissions trading scheme would look like,'' she said.

"There's certainly a lot of support for that. It restores some faith if the burden of taxation is reduced."

She said the future of Australia's mining industry would depend on the international economy, Australia's political environment, the quality of coal and how and at what cost international competitors could produce it.



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