More jobs in the Hunter/Newcastle/Lake Macquarie region, and burgeoning mining royalties are in the pipeline, if the state takes advantage of the increase in demand for thermal coal.

A new report on expected Asian demand for Australian thermal coal highlights a significant opportunity for NSW, and the risk that this opportunity may be lost to others.

The report by expert industry analyst Commodity Insights (commissioned by the MCA and COAL21 Fund) has forecast strong demand for Australian thermal coal, including here in NSW, across existing and emerging Asian markets between now and 2030.

The report estimates that Asian thermal coal demand is expected to grow over 400 million tonnes (Mt) from 740Mt in 2017 to 1147Mt in 2030 – that’s double Australia’s total 2017 thermal coal export volume of 200Mt.

Demand is expected to be driven by increased regional industrialisation and the development of high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal-fired power stations across many of NSW traditional coal export markets including Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea, as well as in emerging markets like Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

NSW Mineral’s Council CEO Stephen Galilee

Commenting on the Report, NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said, “This report confirms strong future prospects for NSW coal exports due to a significant increase in Asian demand for thermal coal for power generation, providing an opportunity for more NSW mining jobs, higher sustained NSW mining royalties and lower global emissions.”

“It should also be understood that failure to grasp this opportunity will mean thermal coal will be supplied by others, resulting in less NSW jobs, less NSW mining royalties, and potentially higher global emissions from low-quality coal.”  

“Yesterday’s NSW Budget was a clear demonstration of the economic benefits of mining to NSW, with a record $1.8 billion in royalties for 2017-18, and even higher royalties forecast for the years ahead to help to pay for better services for the community,” Mr Galilee said.

“The projected $7.4 billion in mining royalties to 2021-22 would more than pay for the NSW Government’s $6 billion commitment to fund 170 new and upgraded schools, or pay for almost all of the NSW Government’s $8 billion commitment for better health facilities including 40 new or upgraded hospital across NSW,” he said.

“This report shows that with the right policies to support mining we can lock in these benefits for the longer term. However, the report highlights the need for an efficient mining approvals process and a regulatory system that is effective but not burdensome,” he said.

The full report from Commodity Insights can be found here.