A number of existing coal mines in our region are planning to modify or continue their operations past their current approved operational dates with only two, Maxwell underground and Ashton South East Open Cut if built, to be new mines.
In the case of Yancoal's Ashton South East project that mine near Camberwell is fully approved but cannot be developed until it owns land held by Wendy Bowman who has vowed never to sell her farm to a mining company.
So that leaves just the Maxwell project located on land that was the site of the former proposed Drayton South open cut mine across the Hunter River from Jerrys Plains as the only new mine in the Upper Hunter.
Information regarding the future plans for mining in the region was contained in a report released last week by the NSW Minerals Council called 'Mining for the Recovery seizing opportunities for jobs and investment in NSW'.
The report stated mining is a $36 billion industry that was the largest export industry by value in the state.
In 2018 mining generated $2b in royalties for the NSW government and income expected to continue with 21 coal projects and 11 metal mines in the pipeline across the state.
These projects will create and maintain 15,500 direct jobs and in the Hunter specifically they will inject $2.7b in capital investment and 500 jobs.
The majority of the eight projects listed in the report that are located in either the Singleton and Muswellbrook Local Government Areas will extract a mixture of thermal and coking coal.
The exceptions are Mangoola and Mt Pleasant mines that produce only thermal coal.
In the Council's previous November 2018 report it identified 25 projects in the project pipeline, comprising 19 coal projects and 6 metals projects. Of the 32 projects identified in our latest report, 21 are coal projects and 11 are for metals projects.
"While the number of coal projects has risen slightly, the number of proposed metals projects has almost doubled from 6 to 11, representing over 30 percent of all major mining projects proposed in NSW, up from 20 percent 18 months ago," said NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee.
"This is an opportunity to further build and diversify the NSW mining sector and represents a strong industry response to the release of the NSW Government's Minerals Strategy in early 2019.
"Overall, these 32 project proposals demonstrate how the NSW mining sector can deliver billions in investment, thousands of jobs and economic growth needed to help rebuild our state in the years ahead, and with the right policies in place to support mining we will do so."