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Metals sector drives NSW mining projects

Monday, September 26th, 2022

New research has revealed how the New South Wales mining industry can drive the state’s ongoing economic recovery from the COVID downturn and secure its future economic prosperity, with 35 mining projects currently at various stages in the state’s planning system.

The NSW Minerals Council has completed its fourth annual review of potential mining projects in the pipeline for NSW. The analysis identified 35 mining projects in various stages of the planning and development phase in NSW, up from 28 in 2018, and 32 in both 2021 and 2022.

The 35 projects identified in 2022 include a range of new projects as well as extensions to existing operations, with the potential to generate significant economic activity for NSW.

Importantly, 15 of the 35 projects identified are for new metals and minerals mines, reflecting increasing global demand for gold, silver, copper, cobalt, zinc and other commodities needed for a range of applications, including for electronics, manufacturing, defence industries, and energy.

Potential combined economic benefits from the 35 projects include:
• Over $13.1 billion in direct capital investment in NSW, driving economic activity across the State, including in regional areas – over $8.5b from metals projects alone
• Creating or maintaining almost 21,000 direct construction and operation jobs, along with tens of thousands more jobs in businesses that support the mines
• Almost $4b in royalties for NSW and hundreds of millions more through other taxes and local community contributions to help fund schools, hospitals, police, infrastructure and other services across the state

The potential regional economic benefits include:
• In the Hunter, over $3.2b in capital investment and around 9600 jobs
• In the Illawarra, over $250 million in capital investment and around 550 jobs
• In the Central West, over $4.1b in capital investment and over 3400 jobs
• In the Far West, over $4.2b in capital investment and around 5100 jobs
• In the Lithgow/Mudgee Region, over $150m in capital investment and over 600 jobs
• In the Gunnedah region, over $1b in capital investment and over 1400 jobs

NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said the 35 projects had the combined potential to deliver more than $13 billion in investment and over 21,000 jobs for NSW to help support and rebuild the economy and boost regional development across the state.

“In particular, technological advances in industries such as telecommunications, medicine, manufacturing, defence, renewables, and energy storage are driving demand for critical metals and minerals. This is providing new opportunities for regional communities across the state,” he said.

The number of metals projects in the NSW planning pipeline continues to grow, increasing to 18 in 2022, up from the 13 projects listed in 2021 (and 11 projects in 2020), highlighting the strong ongoing interest in the metals sector in NSW.

The range of potential metals and minerals projects is also broadening. As noted in the NSW Government’s Critical Minerals and High Tech Metals Strategy, NSW is well placed to take advantage of the rapidly increasing global demand for new resources such as critical minerals, rare earths and high tech metals.

The 18 metals projects have the potential to deliver over $8.5b in new direct investment and over 8800 new jobs across the Central West and Far West of NSW.

Coal continues to be NSW’s most valuable export commodity, worth around $22.6b in exports as well as $4.05b in royalties to the NSW Government – an all-time record for coal mining royalties.

The number of coal projects in the pipeline has remained relatively steady at 17, down from 19 in 2021. Some projects previously listed have now commenced operations or been withdrawn, with other new projects entering the pipeline. Most are for extensions of existing operations.

The 17 coal projects listed in 2022 represent a further $4.6 billion investment opportunity for our regions, and almost 12,000 more jobs created or protected across the state.

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