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Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development

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Extensive mineral wealth on the doorstep of the world's most dynamic region

Extensive mineral wealth on the doorstep of the world's most dynamic region

Image credit: Department of Primary Industries

Regional NSW is a global leader in extracting and supplying critical minerals, as well as the minerals of the future.

There remains high mineral potential in these areas and recent discoveries are showing the potential for NSW to be a supplier of high-tech metals.

Under the NSW Minerals Strategy, the NSW Government is providing A$16 million in funding to support the Mineral Exploration Cooperative Research Centre’s (MinEx CRC) National Drilling Initiative in the state’s central and far west to determine whether economically valuable Group 1 mineral systems lie deep beneath the Earth’s surface.

This ten-year program aims to map regional geology and structure and define the potential for Group 1 minerals in less explored areas around Cobar, Broken Hill (Mundi), Dubbo and Forbes.

Many areas in NSW produce, or have the potential to produce, high-tech metals including copper and gold, rare earth elements (REEs), platinum group elements (PGEs), cobalt, lithium, titanium and zirconium.

Diversity meets dynamism in Regional NSW's resources sector

Mining, exploration and resources continue to play major roles in the Regional NSW economy.

In 2018, the mining and resources sector in Regional NSW contributed A$8.1 billion to the state economy. 28,747 of the 33,062 people in NSW employed in mining and resources worked in Regional NSW in 2016. Coal, iron, steel, aluminium, gold, lead and copper are all major exports.

Excellent opportunities exist for the discovery of new major deposits and the development of existing resources, especially the Murray Basin’s world-class heavy mineral sands. Export demand from Asia, particularly Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, is high with future growth potential from Australia’s Free Trade Agreements with major markets.

Regional NSW is home to highly efficient and productive mining techniques, operations and service providers. CMOC-Northparkes Mines, in the state's Central West and Orana region, pioneered the highly innovative block caving method in 1997 and operated the world’s first automated underground block cave mine in 2015.

Current opportunities in the Regional NSW mining and resources sector

Current opportunities in the Regional NSW mining and resources sector

Government assistance to mining and resource companies

Government assistance to mining and resource companies

Image credit: NSW Treasury

The NSW Government provides assistance to companies investing in the state.

This assistance includes the provision of free precompetitive geo-scientific data to mineral explorers, direct financial support for exploration drilling and support for the Energy and Resources Knowledge Hub in partnership with the University of Newcastle.

The Geological Survey of New South Wales is the state's premier geoscience agency. It collects and manages geological, geophysical, geochemical and geospatial data to inform the government, resource industry and the community about the state's geology and its mineral and energy resources.

The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science offers a number of industry assistance programs:

  • A$100 million Exploring for the Future program to boost exploration investment in the sector through production of better geoscience data
  • A$26 million Gas Acceleration Program to increase the supply of gas by accelerating the development of known significant onshore gas resource
  • Research and Development Tax Incentive to provide tax relief to stimulate industry investment in research and development.

Austrade can facilitate expansion into global markets through provision of market intelligence and support services.

The sector is also a leader in innovation, with businesses investing significantly in research and development activities.

For more details, visit the assistance page.

NSW export values of top minerals 2017-18

Chart showing New South Wales export values of top minerals from 2015 to 2016

Chart showing New South Wales export values of top minerals from 2015 to 2016

Source: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 2019, Australia's Trade by State and Territory 2017-18

Established mining and resources companies based in Regional NSW

Success stories in Regional NSW's mining and resources sector

Get in touch

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development
Office contacts
Suite 1, Level 1
47-59 Wingewarra Street
DUBBO NSW 2830
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