The Hunter Valley Research Foundation (HVRF) has predicted the proposed Bickham coal mine could employ nearly three times as many full time staff as previously estimated.
The HVRF believes the 36 million tonne mine could create up to 386 jobs, of which 286 would be full time.
By comparison, the NSW Department of Planning had estimated the project would employ 100 full time and 200 part time workers.
The Foundation’s research also found the mine would deliver up to $3.7 billion into the Hunter region’s economy over its 25 year lifespan and generate at least $216.4 million in royalties.
The HVRF hopes the mine will provide a boost to the Upper Hunter area, which has saw its population decrease by 7.8% between 1996 and 2006.
In particular, the population of those within the working age bracket of 25 to 39 year olds fell by around 24%.
“The Bickham project could draw employees to the local area, particularly those in the working age population,” the HVRF said.
“It is expected that most employees will be male and new recruits that are likely to bring their families with them.”
Bickham Coal director John Richards welcomed the news, saying it would give hope to those in the Upper Hunter who want heavy industry and job opportunities to proceed.
“We have always said we will employ local people where possible, so it is good news that we may be able to create many more local jobs than first anticipated,” he said.
“At times it is difficult to keep count of how many people are contacting us to ask about job opportunities.
“We can only ask that people be patient as the planning process continues.”