Visiting Broken Hill over the Anzac Day long weekend stimulates some interesting comparisons. Broken Hill, discovered in the 1880s, was one of the world’s great mineral discoveries and certainly one of Australia’s greatest. It was where BHP Billiton started and also played a major role in the growth of Rio Tinto, to name just two companies.
According to the local guide books, the value of minerals produced at Broken Hill in its history is about $300 billion at current commodity prices.
How does this compare with Queensland CSG-based LNG projects? At full capacity they will produce around 25 million tonnes a year. Over 20 years that’s 500 Mt. If we assume an export price of $12 per MMBtu that’s also $300 billion and over 20 years, not 100. Commercialisation of Queensland CSG is very much like discovering another Broken Hill.