Thermal coal fires NSW budget

HIGHER thermal coal prices have prompted the New South Wales government to increase its budget forecast for money raised from mining royalties by $50 million to $1.6 billion in 2021-22.
Thermal coal fires NSW budget Thermal coal fires NSW budget Thermal coal fires NSW budget Thermal coal fires NSW budget Thermal coal fires NSW budget

Once again coal mining royalties are providing an economic boost to the NSW state budget.

That means mining royalties are forecast to raise nearly $6.4 billion over the next four years, delivering significant ongoing funding for the NSW Generations Fund.

Mining royalties represent a significant proportion of revenue for the fund, which is expected to grow to $90 billion by 2031 and has delivered investment returns of 8.6% since its inception in late 2018.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said mining royalties were helping underpin the NSW government's fiscal strategy and infrastructure program through provision of strong ongoing revenues into the NSW Generations Fund.

"Once again mining royalties are providing an economic boost to the state budget, with royalty revenues now embedded as a critical component of the government's fiscal strategy," he said.

Galilee said the mining sector also welcomed deputy premier John Barilaro's budget announcement of the development of a Critical Minerals Strategy for NSW, which should complement existing government strategies for coal and other minerals.

"Back in 2018 we highlighted the need for a Minerals Strategy and to its credit the NSW government responded with a solid plan for the future," he said.

"The deputy premier's new Critical Minerals Strategy can build on this to drive further innovative growth opportunities for mining regions over the long term.

"We are also pleased the NSW government will fund further geoscientific data provision, and further research into coal innovation technology to help drive more future investment opportunities for NSW.

"The deputy premier has a strong understanding of the mining sector and has worked hard to deliver on his commendable vision to make NSW the number one destination for mining investment."

The budget also confirms ongoing departmental initiatives and activities relating to workplace health and safety, regulatory compliance, and upgrades to services provided to the sector.

"These commitments are also welcome, noting they are generally funded from existing industry fees and levies, including the Mine Safety Levy, the Administration Levy, and Rental Fees which together raise more than $70m from the sector each year," Galilee said.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Warren Pearce said the minerals industry stood ready to support NSW and contribute to the state's economic future.

"The $8 billion in royalties over five years to 2024-25 will bring important revenue to support the State and the COVID-19 recovery spending," he said.

The NSW government mission to make the state the number one destination for mining investment is supported by significant investment in the 2020-21 budget.

This includes $34.5 million to provide world class geoscientific information, $33.6 million to regulate mine and petroleum site safety, $9.2 million to carry out compliance inspections and investigations, and $13.2 million to deliver robust assessment of tenure and improve the tenure management system.

There will also be $2.2 million for Round 4 of the Cooperative Drilling Program and more than $100 million has been committed to the Legacy Mines Program.

"The significant investment in the Legacy Mines program will ensure that these historic mine sites receive the investment that they deserve," Pearce said.

"The $3.3 billion that the NSW government holds in security bonds and tough regulatory and compliance regime ensures that this issue cannot happen now or in the future.

"AMEC has particularly welcomed the announcement of an extension to the Cooperative Drilling program that directly stimulates investment and exploration in NSW. We believe that this program should be an annual fixture in NSW as it is for other mining states.

"The announcement and support for the development of a NSW Critical Minerals Strategy will be important to lay the roadmap for the mineral miners of the future.

"The budget investments to support renewable energy and electric vehicles will also indirectly support the minerals industry that produces the important elements that are needed for these emerging sectors.

"The budget includes the statement that future mining royalties will be invested in the NSW Generations Fund that will have strengthened reporting and debt retirement requirements. This is another example of how the minerals industry is supporting the future of the state.

"Today's budget reinforces the importance of the minerals industry to the NSW economy and the industry looks forward to a bright future."