Royalties on the rise in NSW, survey

The NSW Minerals Council’s Key Industry Statistics 2009 survey has revealed that mining royalty payments to the State Government doubled to $1.28 billion, while exports grew by around 50% to $17.5 billion in 2008-09.

The NSW Minerals Council’s Key Industry Statistics 2009 survey has revealed that mining royalty payments to the State Government doubled to $1.28 billion, while exports grew by around 50% to $17.5 billion in 2008-09.

The survey, released yesterday, also found that regional environmental rehabilitation bonds grew from $927 million in 2007-08 to more than $1 billion in the last year.

In statement, NSW Minerals Council chief executive Dr Nikki Williams said the Federal Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) would place the lucrative royalties in jeopardy.

“Royalty payments have gone up a massive 400% since 2004-05,” she said.

“Coal makes up around 95% of those royalties, but future payments could be stunted if the proposed CPRS goes ahead in its current form.

“The wages for miners in regional communities that support local businesses, such as Lithgow, Singleton, Mudgee and Wollongong, are under a cloud as well.”

The survey found that the average industry wage rose to $2013.90 per week, up from $1840 in the corresponding period in 2008.

Around 25,000 of the State’s 30,000 mining jobs are located in regional communities, according to the study.

According to Williams, the environmental security bonds paid by mine operators to the NSW Government have more than doubled since 2005-06.

“That money is retained until mine sites are successfully rehabilitated and have met all Government criteria for completion,” she said.

“The mining industry is constantly innovating and developing new ways to reduce the impact of its operations and to return land to its agreed post-mining use.

“But this is the community’s rolled gold, billion dollar insurance policy to make sure that it happens.”

NSW mines produced around 138.4 million tonnes of saleable coal in 2008-09, a slight increase on the 135 million tonnes produced in the previous year.

Copper, zinc, lead and silver production dropped, while gold, rutile and zircon increased.

The survey also showed that the export value of coal, coke and briquettes doubled from $6.2 billion in 2007-08 to $13.1 billon in 2008-09, while non-ferrous metals and metalliferous ores and metal scrap exports actually dropped in value.

The value of the State’s minerals production at average market prices rose from $6.6 billion in 1998-99 to nearly $14 billion in 2007-08.

Japan accounted for the vast majority of the exports, with a 54.5% market share, while South Korea and Taiwan were the second and third-largest customers, respectively.

There were three fatalities in NSW mines in 2008-09, compared to zero in the previous year.

The Minerals Council has identified several priority areas for the industry with regard to safety, including hours of work, fatigue management, hazard exposure, hazard reporting and the development of safety management systems.

The 2007-08 was also the State’s best result in five years in terms of serious bodily injuries.

There were 33 serious injuries reported in that year, down from 59 in 2006-07 and 59 in 2005-06.

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