The second annual NSW Minerals Council State of the Industry 06 Report has revealed the minerals industry has grown by around $2 billion in the past year to an estimated $11 billion for 2005-06 and continues to support in excess of 20,000 jobs, primarily in regional areas.
“Mining continues to provide the highest wages of any industry in the state with average weekly total earnings for employees at more than $1800 and NSW mining engineers amongst the highest paid of any graduates,” NSW Minerals Council chief executive Dr Nikki Williams said.
Research also shows that 5000 new jobs will be created in mining in regional NSW over the next 10 years.
“Mining companies in NSW spend more than $1.5 billion a year on local and regional suppliers, and inject up to $10 million a year to improve local amenities,” the report said.
An NSWMC survey of member companies estimated that around 45% of all mining expenditure is spent in the local town or region and that the majority of employees live in the local area.
The report said the NSW minerals industry has long recognised the importance of building sustainable relationships with local communities and the link between the quality of these relationships and operational success.
“Maintaining good community relations involves an ongoing dialogue with the community, listening to concerns and expectations, and developing an appropriate response to specific social, economic and cultural circumstances.”
Williams said the report showed the contribution of the industry to the welfare and success of people living in NSW at a time when some are challenging its right to operate.
“Many people don’t realise that more than 90 percent of NSW’s electricity comes from coal and this supply of reliable, affordable energy underpins the state’s economy and our way of life,” she said.