Ian Macfarlane is set to take on a new role with the Queensland Resources Council, reports say.
Ian Macfarlane is set to take on a new role with the Queensland Resources Council, reports say. Bev Lacey

Macfarlane goes from golf course to CEO of mining group

UPDATE: IAN Macfarlane was on the sixth hole at Middle Ridge Golf Club when he received a phone call from the Queensland Resources Council.

The industry lobby group was phoning to offer him the job of chief executive officer.

It was the week after the Toowoomba South by-election and the former Federal Industry Minister was supposed to be starting his retirement.

"I told them I'd give it some thought," Mr Macfarlane told The Chronicle.

"I feel like I've got some good years in me yet and regional Queensland and the mining industry have been part of my passion for a long time, along with science and innovation."

Today it became official that Mr Macfarlane would head the organisation.

He plans to focus on resolving the challenges facing the mining industry, which is coming off a boom with prices for some resources low.

One key area will be lowering production costs.

Mr Macfarlane said coal miners in Western Australia had been able to lower their production costs from $45 per tonne to $12.

"We haven't been able to achieve the same savings (in Queensland) but the industry is heading back to profitability," he said.

Mr Macfarlane said the price of coking coal was very high and thermal coal was getting back to the "profit margin area".

"The mining industry goes through cycles but the main thing is to ensure it is able to do what it needs to do, and do so in a very environmentally  sensitive way.

"That will be the biggest challenge, balancing economic factors with the environmental and social licence issues."

He also plans to resolve conflicts between the farming and mining sectors.

Mr Macfarlane said he would continue to live in Toowoomba and would travel to Brisbane during the week to work with the council.

He said the mining industry was the corner stone industry in Queensland, employing 20% of the workforce directly or indirectly.

EARLIER: He's going from the minister overseeing industry to the chief executive officer of the Queensland's premier mining body.

Former Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane will be appointed head of the Queensland Resources Council.

Mr Macfarlane is yet to comment publicly on the appointment, which will become official today.

The report comes after the former Toowoomba politician knocked back the position of resources investment commissioner when it was offered by the Queensland Government in March this year.

At that time he had announced his retirement and said he was committed to serving his electorate.

The previous head of the council was economist and former chief of staff to the Queensland Treasurer Michael Roche, who will step down in November.

The not-for-profit industry association represents the commercial developers of Queensland's minerals and energy resources.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott in May urged the mining industry to "demonstrate their gratitude" to former resources minister Ian McFarlane in "his years of retirement".

Mr Abbott said Mr McFarlane's scrapping of the mining tax was a "magnificent achievement" and said: "I hope this sector will acknowledge and demonstrate their gratitude to him in his years of retirement from this place".

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