A new report commissioned by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has found that a third of all coal mines in Queensland are operating at a loss.
Wood Mackenzie conducted the study as a part of the QRC's State of the Sector report.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche said: "While the cost curves and profitability analyses provide hard data on the state of our sector, the opinions of the industry leaders in Queensland, many of them veterans of 30 or more years, tell the story more starkly.
"Despite production reaching its highest levels, we have lost 21,000 resource sector jobs in the past two years as a result of low commodity prices.
"We must ensure that policy and regulation supports existing operations, which last year was responsible for contributing $64.8bn to Queensland's economy, while providing one in every six jobs."
Roche said as the sector is experiencing a downturn, a new plan needs to be put in place in order to preserve the maximum number of jobs.
The QRC plans to meet the Queensland Government's cabinet jobs committee to discuss a plan to protect the existing 60,000 resource sector jobs as well as the jobs across the 24,000 businesses offering support to the industry.
Queensland's resources industry is also urging the federal, state and local governments to play their part and save thousands of jobs.
Australian community action group Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Drew Hutton said: "Mining is a long-term business and it obviously did a very poor job in managing its cashflow."
All companies are required to have financial provisions to pay for mine rehabilitation and must start investing in fixing up the mess left by large-scale, open-cut mining, Hutton added.