NSW coal sector boosted by 2000 jobs

A coal mine in the Hunter region

Almost 2000 jobs were added to New South Wales’ coal industry in 2017, the latest figures from Coal Services have revealed.

A revival in global coal prices and steady demand for the state’s product from export markets has sparked the gradual recovery.

According to the Coal Services figures, there were 20,872 coal production jobs in NSW as at December 2017, around 2000 more than at the same time a year earlier and the highest number since July 2014.

The Hunter Valley region welcomed a significant portion of the new jobs, with almost 1100 more opportunities than at the end of 2016 boosting communities like Singleton, Muswelbrook, Cessnock and Maitland.

In the New England region, an increase of 162 positions took the total number of coal mining production jobs in the region to 2284 at the end of December. Nearly 900 position have been created in the region over the past three years.

Meanwhile, 427 coal mining jobs were created in the Illawarra region during 2017, taking its total to 2900.

NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said many of the state’s mining communities had a tough few years from 2013 to the end of 2016, making the 2017 jobs boost really good news for local communities.

“There’s been a sustained recovery in business conditions for coal mining in NSW over the last 18 months,” Galilee said.

“We’ve seen the average free on board (FOB) value of thermal coal per tonne rise from $68.27 in June 2016 to $114.82 by December 2017, the highest price since December 2011.

“The FOB value of coking coal per tonne has also steadied at $167.91 compared to the low of $98.87 at the end of 2015. This has really helped deliver more jobs to our coal mining regions.”

Galilee said strong demand for NSW coal means more coal mining jobs in the state.

“With the right policy settings that make the most of growing opportunities, our coal mining industry can continue to deliver employment, investment and economic stability well into the future,” he said.

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