NSW increasingly buoyed by mining

NEW South Wales is becoming more of a resource state as industry figures reveal almost $1 billion of royalties were returned to the state government in 12 months.
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Australian Coal Association chief executive officer Nikki Williams.

Blair Price

The NSW Minerals Council released its Key Industry Statistics 2010 package yesterday, outlining royalty payments that reached $985 million.

NSW coal exports were up by 6.4% year-on-year to 109.9 million tonnes and more than 2100 jobs were created in the state’s mining industry.

Coal is the main game, but growing gold fever lifted exploration expenditure for this commodity by 128% year-on-year to $48.8 million, representing about 38% of the total exploration spend.

“While Western Australia and Queensland are considered the resources states, these figures show that the $17 billion sector in New South Wales will continue to make an increasingly important contribution to the state’s economy and to local communities,” NSW Minerals Council chief executive Nikki Williams said.

“An estimated $6.8 billion in royalties from mining over the next four years will help pay for essential services like police on the beat, nurses in our hospitals and teachers in our schools.

“The mining industry now directly employs 35,495 people and more than three-quarters of the new jobs in 2009-10 were created in regional New South Wales.

“Including the 43,718 jobs in minerals processing, the sector supports a further 355,000 jobs indirectly, which means 12 per cent of the state’s employment is directly or indirectly connected to mining.”

Despite the critical contributions the coal industry makes to an embattled NSW economy, there is still plenty of opposition to overcome.

“We are working hard to address concerns about the cumulative impacts of mining, particularly in the Hunter Valley through the new Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network and our industry-first Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue,” Williams said.

“The community is outlining the problems as they see them and we want to work together to come up with some solutions.

“The minerals industry also supports the government’s new Sub-Committee of Cabinet which is developing a strategy for coal. It reflects our desire to work with the community, other industries including farmers, thoroughbred breeders, wine makers, and with our politicians, to help develop appropriate regional land-use plans that will inform economic development, provide more certainty for everyone and lead to a strong future for New South Wales.”