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New NSW coal mine contributing to regional community and national economy

2 September 2015

The opening of Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Coal Mine will bring stable jobs and regional economic prosperity to the Narrabri, Gunnedah and Tamworth communities in North-Western NSW.

Opening the mine today, Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane welcomed the $767 million project that has created 232 local jobs, with an expected peak workforce of 450 people when the mine reaches full capacity.

“Regional workers benefit from highly paid, stable jobs and local businesses and suppliers supporting the mine are also gaining from a new market and related supply chain,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Communities like Narrabri, Gunnedah and Tamworth all benefit from major resources companies investing in our regions, where the local mine is often one of the major direct employers as well as underpinning many more indirect jobs in regional economies.

“The State also benefits from the royalties received that then help to pay for roads, schools and hospitals and benefits also flow into the national economy as resources projects bring in important export dollars.”

The Maules Creek Coal Mine became commercial on 1 July and will ultimately have an annual production capacity of six million tonnes. Half the production will be premium thermal coal for customers in Japan and Korea and half will be metallurgical coal, used in steel making, for India and other markets.

“Coal is one of our largest export earners and will continue to be an important part of the national energy mix for years to come, both domestically and throughout the Asian region,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Current market conditions are by no means perfect for the global coal industry with oversupply resulting in depressed coal prices; however, Australia must not lose sight of the ongoing growth in energy demand, particularly in the Asia–Pacific region.

“Projections by the International Energy Agency show a continued role for coal for many decades ahead and while demand may decline in OECD countries, increasing demand from India and other emerging markets will more than offset that decline.

“Australia has a strong track record of exporting reliable supplies of quality coal throughout Asia and both new and extended resources operations will enable us to maintain our position of strength.

“The Government has been working to ensure environmentally sound resource projects continue to support the economy and has recently introduced legislation to Parliament to prevent activists from stalling such projects.”

Media contact: Mr Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070