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For the first time in over two years, China has received a shipment of coal from Australia.

Coal mining job numbers in New South Wales have returned to levels not seen since 2012, according to NSW Mining.

In the latest data from specialised health and safety scheme company Coal Services, December 2022 saw the highest end of year result for coal mining jobs in the state since 2012 at 23,850.

The state’s largest coal mining region, the Hunter, has contributed to 14,382 jobs in December 2022 after numbers fell to 12,600 in 2014.

The Hunter is also a record spending region, with the annual membership expenditure survey confirming a total of $6.3 billion was directly injected into the Hunter economy by mining companies throughout the last financial year.

“These very strong results highlight the importance of mining for the Hunter’s economy, and for mining communities across the region,” NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer (CEO) Stephen Galilee said.

“Mining clearly continues to provide economic strength and stability to the Hunter, supporting thousands of Hunter families and businesses.

Galilee said the recovery in coal mining jobs in NSW was a sign of the ongoing importance and resilience of the NSW coal sector.

“With the state election only days away, the growth in coal mining jobs across NSW in recent years shows the ongoing strength of the industry, and the need to ensure mining communities are supported.”

“In addition to these nearly 24,000 coal mining jobs, the industry also supports the jobs of thousands more people in around 7,000 local businesses in NSW that supply our mining operations.

“Whoever forms government following the state election will need to ensure the right policies are in place to support our world-class coal mining sector into the future.”