The research, completed by the NSW Minerals Council, has analysed the potential economic benefits of all major mining projects currently in the NSW planning system, from the initial EIS submission stage to approved projects still seeking related conditional approvals before mining can commence.
"These projects have the potential to deliver almost AUS$13 billion in investment and over 17,500 jobs for NSW to help support and rebuild the economy and boost regional development across the state," NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said.
"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 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.
These metals projects alone have the potential to deliver over AUS$7 billion (US$5 billion) in new direct investment and over 6,000 new jobs across the Central West and Far West of NSW.
Coal continues to be NSW's most valuable export commodity, worth around AUS$16 billion in exports in 2021 as well as AUS$1.6 billion in royalties to the NSW government.
Demand for NSW coal has remained strong despite the global pandemic, including with the 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 the sector has 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 AUS$5.5 billion of investment opportunity for the regions, and thousands more jobs created or protected across the state.
The number of coal projects has decreased from 21 in 2020 to 19 projects in 2021 due to the commencement of a project, withdrawal or discontinuance of some projects, and the refusal of the Dendrobium project by the NSW Independent Planning Commission.
"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 Galilee.
"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."
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