The New South Wales mining industry is focused on change and innovation to minimise the impacts of its growth upon the environment and the community, the NSW Minerals Council has said.
In its annual industry snapshot "Key Industry Statistics 2011", the report has shown the contribution the mining industry is making to the state.
Highlights of the report included state royalties rising by a quarter to a record $1.24 billion; the creation of 3500 jobs, and the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate falling to its lowest level in a decade.
"This new data demonstrates again that the $20 billion minerals industry is an important part of the NSW economy," the NSW Minerals Council acting CEO Sue-Ern Tan said.
"We are creating jobs in regional NSW, driving investment as the biggest private investor in the State and making an important return to the people of NSW through our royalties and taxes. Independent analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that our mining royalties are enough to fund 13,000 nurses in our hospitals or 11,000 teachers in our schools every single year.
"While the industry’s growth brings economic and employment opportunities, it also demands a greater responsibility to minimise the industry’s collective impact on the environment and the community.
"It’s not enough just to be good for the NSW economy – we want to be good for NSW. That’s why we are using new techniques to reduce dust from our mines, we’re using less water through innovative recycling programs and we’re regenerating land for native plants and animals during and after mining."
Tan went on to dispute claims that the booming mining industry is swallowing up agricultural land.
"We now know that coal and mineral exploration titles cover 22% of the State’s land. Coal and mineral production titles, which are required for mining, cover just 0.48% of land in NSW. While there are concerns about land use conflicts and we support the need for regional strategic land use plans, the claims by some that mining is rapidly engulfing the State are not supported by these facts," she said.