The Queensland Resources Council says conditions facing the coal sector are far worse than those experienced during the global financial crisis.
Chief executive Michael Roche said up to 5000 jobs have been lost in the past few months, due to the collapse of the coal price and rising production costs.
During the last global downturn, the growth of China helped protect the mining industry.
"We're not looking this time at some fairy godmother coming to the party,'' said Mr Roche.
''But the good news is there are signs that coal prices have bottomed, that export volumes are picking up," he said.
The ABC reports contractors have been hardest hit. However, Mr Roche said conditions in the coal seam gas sector are more positive, with 7000 jobs created in the first half of the year.
The QRC expects the current conditions facing the industry to continue through next year.