In the past 12 months there’s been a strong turnaround for mining in NSW with indications this will continue in the medium term.
A strong improvement in global prices for thermal and coking coal has translated into mining jobs growth across NSW, particularly in the Hunter. There were just over 20,500 coal production jobs in NSW as at June this year – over 1000 more than at the same time last year, and the highest since March 2015. Much of this growth has been in the region with around 900 more Hunter coal mining jobs than a year earlier.
This improvement in market conditions for coal mining is great news for the more than 3600 Hunter businesses that supply the mines. There is also increased opportunity for these Hunter mining supplier businesses outside of the Hunter coal sector. As well as a strong coal sector, NSW has some of the world’s best metals mining operations, including gold and copper. The metals sector is also experiencing improved conditions. Gold and copper prices have increased, with the value of gold up by 11 per cent since January and the value of copper up by 17 per cent over the same period.
Importantly, we’re seeing new metals mining projects being developed in NSW. These include Regis Resources’ development of the McPhillamys gold project near Blayney in the Central West of NSW. CleanTeQ is developing its Syerston Nickel Cobalt Scandium Project, one of the highest grade and largest nickel and cobalt deposits outside of Africa. Silver Mines Limited is developing the largest undeveloped silver deposit in Australia just east of Mudgee.
Not only will each of these projects create jobs and deliver economic growth for their respective regions, they represent new opportunities for businesses in the Hunter with years of experience in servicing and supplying mining projects.