A dozen mining projects in the Hunter could help economy recover

There’s a dozen mining projects in the Hunter that could help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

New research from the NSW Minerals Council shows 32 mining projects currently at various stages in the NSW planning system could significantly boost the state’s economic recovery.

The potential benefits include over $3.6 billion in capital investment and around 7,500 in the Hunter, over $1 billion in capital investment in Gunnedah, in the Lithgow/Mudgee region over $150 million in capital investment and in the Central West NSW Mining said over $4 billion in capital investment and over 2,700 jobs.

CEO Stephen Galilee said the projects have the potential to deliver almost $13 billion in investment and deliver over 17,500 jobs for NSW.

“In particular, there is growing demand for our high-quality metals and rare earths. Technological advances in industries such as telecommunications, medicine, defence, renewables, and energy storage are driving demand for critical metals and minerals.  This is providing new opportunities for regional communities across the state.”

“The NSW mining industry stands ready to strengthen the state economy in the short term and for decades to come, delivering billions in investment and supporting thousands of jobs.”

“Overall, these 32 project proposals demonstrate how the NSW mining sector can deliver billions in investment, thousands of jobs, and economic growth needed to help rebuild our state economy in the years ahead, and with the right policies in place to support mining we will do so,” said Stephen Galilee.

The number of metals projects in the NSW planning pipeline has increased to 13 in 2021, up from 11 projects in 2020, highlighting the strong ongoing interest in the metals sector in NSW. Eight of these are proposals for new mines, including new gold, silver, nickel, cobalt, and scandium mines. This is the highest number of proposed new metals mines for NSW in at least a decade.

The NSW Minerals Council said from 23 of the 32 projects, over $4 billion in royalties could be generated for NSW and hundreds of millions more through other taxes and community contributions.

Coal continues to be NSW’s most valuable export commodity, worth around $16 billion in exports in 2021 as well as $1.6 billion in royalties to the NSW Government.

Demand for NSW coal has remained strong despite the global pandemic, including with our top three traditional markets Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, as well as important emerging markets like India, Vietnam and the Philippines. This demand is expected to remain strong for at least the next two decades and we’ve also seen a significant surge in the coal price over recent months.

This is also driving opportunities, with a range of NSW coal projects under assessment. Most are for extensions of existing operations, with a few new ones and a further $5.5 billion of investment opportunity for our regions, and thousands more jobs created or protected across the state.

“As NSW continues to be gripped by the effects of COVID-19, and we look to rebuild the economy, there has never been a more critical time to maximise the opportunities this pipeline of job-generating projects represents,” said Stephen Galilee.

Image credit: Jessica Rouse