Mining in New South Wales experienced a boom in the 2022/23 year, contributing $23.6 billion to the state’s economy. That thumping dollar figure is 41% up on the previous period and by far mining’s highest contribution on record.

During the same period, 28 major miners in NSW provided 31,000 full-time positions, 1,500 up on the 2021/22 financial year, and yet another record. The boom in local mining is partly due to inflationary factors and the rising cost of goods and services, although the job numbers signal a more inherent strength in the industry.

The $23.6 billion in direct spending includes:

  • More than $3.4 billion spent on wages and salaries.
  • $14.4 billion for goods and services bought from 7,000 NSW businesses.
  • $5.8 billion in royalties and other tariffs to the NSW Government.

“The mining sector has continued to provide jobs, investment, and economic stability across NSW, even during challenging economic times,” said Stephen Galilee, CEO of NSW Minerals Council.

“The survey results show that when mining prospers, New South Wales prospers too, although spending levels may decline in the future as inflation falls and royalty revenues return to normal levels due to lower coal prices,” he remarked.

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Alcoa Supports War Wounded with Prosthetic Limb Grant

Alcoa will transfer $330,000 to Ukraine to provide prosthetic limbs for civilians and soldiers impacted by the war. One of Australia’s largest Bauxite miners and aluminium producers, the Alcoa Foundation, has partnered with Aspen Medical to address the pressing need for prosthetics amid the ongoing conflict.

The funding will also cover capacity-building training for Ukraine’s local healthcare personnel. Caroline Rossignol, President of Alcoa Foundation, said the team is happy to support people affected by the war in Ukraine to get access to prosthetics.

The program will “significantly improve their quality of life and aid in their physical and psychological healing process”, Ms. Rossignol said. Aspen Medical Foundation will work closely with First Medical Union (FMU), the most extensive health system in Ukraine and the leading rehabilitation site in the country, with support from the $330,000 Alcoa grant.

The project seeks to provide long-term support for individuals affected by physical disabilities beyond immediate relief. According to Aspen Medical Foundation executive chair Glenn Keys, “More than 25,000 people have experienced traumatic amputations as a result of conflicts in Ukraine. This number is rapidly growing and highlights the pressing need for assistance.”

“Each one of these individuals represents a life dramatically changed by the horrors of war, a person forced to cope with the daunting challenge of navigating daily life without a limb or limbs,” he added.

BHP, Rio, and Bluescope Join for Steelmaking Push

Aussie mining majors BHP and Rio Tinto will partner with the nation’s largest steelmaker, Bluescope, to explore the potential for a domestic green steel furnace. Under a new agreement, the trio will conduct a feasibility study into Australia’s first Electric Smelting Furnace (ESF) for ironmaking using the Pilbara’s Direct Reduced Iron (DRI).

Various sites will be evaluated, considering available infrastructure and workforce.

“This partnership will benefit from Rio Tinto’s and BHP’s unrivalled experience of Pilbara ores as well as the technical steelmaking capability and unique operating knowledge of BlueScope,” said Simon Trott, the chief executive of Rio Tinto iron ore.

The project aims to demonstrate that molten iron can be produced from Australia’s Pilbara ores using renewable power when combined with direct reduced iron (DRI) process technology. It would be the first successful attempt in Australia to produce clean steel, potentially leading to the development of a domestic ore processing industry.

“We aim to expedite the development of low-emission pathways for steelmakers using Pilbara ores by combining our expertise,” said Tim Day, BHP WAIO Asset President.

A work program for a pre-feasibility study is expected to be completed by the end of 2024; if approved, the pilot facility could be operational by 2027.


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