The Minister for Industry and Science has opened Maules Creek Coalmine in Whitehaven, welcoming 232 local jobs that the $767 million project has created.
The Maules Creek Coalmine became commercial on 1st July, and it will eventually have a production capacity of six million tonnes per annum. Half of the production will be premium thermal coal, for Japanese and Korean customers. The other half of the production will be metallurgical coal that is destined for India and other markets for steelmaking.
When the coalmine reaches its full capacity, it expects to employ an expected peak workforce of 450 people. The mine will give stable jobs as well as regional economic prosperity to the North-Western NSW communities of Narrabri, Tamworth, and Gunnedah.
The Minister said workers from the region will benefit from stable, highly paid jobs, and the local businesses and suppliers that support the mine will gain from the new market and its related supply chain. Local mines are frequently one of the main direct employers within a community, and they often indirectly underpin many more jobs in regional economies. The Narrabri, Tamworth, and Gunnedah communities will all benefit from major resources companies investing in these regions.
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NSW will also benefit from the royalties received, which will ultimately help to pay for schools, hospitals, and roads. These benefits also flow through to the national economy because resources projects bring in important export money.
Coal is one of our biggest export earners. It continues to be a vital component of the national energy mix and will continue to be so in the years to come – domestically as well as throughout the Asian region.
The current market conditions are not ideal for the worldwide coal industry as oversupply results in depressed coal prices. However, Australia should focus on the continuing growth in energy demands, especially within the Asia-Pacific region.
International Energy Agency projections show a continuing role for coal for many years ahead. While the demand may decline in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, there is increasing demand from other emerging markets, such as India, that will more than offset the decline.
The Government has worked to make sure that environmentally sound resource projects keep supporting the economy. It has recently introduced legislation to Parliament to stop activists from obstructing such projects.
Australia has a solid record of accomplishment for exporting dependable supplies of high-quality coal throughout Asia. The new and extended resources operations will allow us to keep this strong position.