Recently I spoke at the Muswellbrook and Singleton business chambers about the positive outlook for mining in the Upper Hunter. At both events there was a strong understanding of the importance of mining for Hunter jobs - and not just mining jobs. The local mining industry supports thousands of other jobs across the Hunter.
Last financial year mining companies in the Hunter spent more than $3billion with over 3600 local businesses, helping to support jobs.
This $3billion in spending helped pay wages for those working in these businesses, generating more local spending in places like supermarkets, cafes, and other retailers, supporting even more local jobs.
This flow-on jobs impact is one of the main reasons why when mining is going well, the Hunter generally goes well too.
And things are looking up for the industry. Demand for NSW coal increased by over a million tonnes to the end of 2016, a number of mines in the Hunter are re-opening, and a significant rise in the coal price has provided a much-needed confidence boost for local mining communities.
This month, the NSW Minerals Council hosted our annual Industry and Suppliers’ Awards at Parliament House in Sydney. Attended by politicians and industry representatives from across NSW, the awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the role of mining in NSW and to celebrate the hard work of our miners and our supply businesses.
The awards recognise Outstanding Supplier of the Year, Exceptional Woman in NSW Mining, Mining Operation of the Year, Small Business Achievement of the Year and Young Achiever of the Year.
Most importantly, the awards help highlight the fact that tens of thousands of people rely on our industry for their jobs, and also that every household, every business and every person in NSW benefits from a strong and growing state mining industry.
The Hunter industry was well represented in all categories at this year’s awards, with the Exceptional Woman in Mining Award going to Kirsten Molloy, CEO of the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator; Young Woman in Mining awarded to Chloe Piggford from Glencore’s Integra Underground Mine; and Outstanding NSW Tradeswoman/Operator/Technician going to Jemma Callaghan from Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth Mine.