Mining in Mudgee: Spreading economic benefits

Opportunity: NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee (right) recently meet with KEPCO Bylong Australia chief operating officer Bill Vatovec.
Opportunity: NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee (right) recently meet with KEPCO Bylong Australia chief operating officer Bill Vatovec.

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I’ve been CEO of the NSW Minerals Council for seven years and I’ve seen how Mudgee has grown stronger and more diverse as a result of the mining projects in the region combined with world class tourism, wineries, and agriculture.

Mudgee is a vibrant local community with artists, cafes, restaurants and much more to offer, and the local economy is strengthened by having a significant economic injection from world-class local mining operations.

Of course, mining had a big role in the history of Mudgee and mid-western NSW through the gold rushes that swept across our nation in the late 19th century, as a visit to the terrific Mudgee or Gulgong historical museums will demonstrate.

Today, mining in the region mainly consists of coal projects. In my recent visit to Mudgee I visited the site of the proposed Bylong project. I spoke with the KEPCO team on the mine design, how they’re managing the local impacts and some of the economic opportunities that will come from the project.

With Kandos and Rylstone doing it tough, the Bylong project is a great opportunity to spread the economic benefits of mining further across the region. I was particularly struck by the innovative mine design and the phasing of their mining activity and the fact there won’t be any final voids when the site is restored for post-mining land use.

The most important feature of mining in the Mudgee region is our people. Unlike other mining states like Queensland and Western Australia, NSW has very few fly-in-fly-out workers. 

I’ve seen how Mudgee has grown stronger and more diverse as a result of the mining projects in the region combined with world class tourism, wineries, and agriculture.

Stephen Galilee

Most of our mining employees live and often raise a family in local communities near mining operations. They are important to local communities like Mudgee, Hargraves, Kandos, Gulgong and Rylstone. 

Some of them are also local farmers who work shifts at the mine to supplement their income. You’ll see mining families at the local RSLs, at kids sport on the weekends and at school fetes.

And of course local mining supports local jobs and businesses. Mining in regional communities like Mudgee contribute to the local economy through jobs, and also by creating opportunities for local businesses.

In Mudgee, mining provides excellent opportunities for businesses that supply the industry as well as for the wider business community indirectly. This translates into increased economic strength for regional towns like Mudgee.

Mining will continue to help strengthen the vibrant and diverse Mudgee community and economy for decades to come.

NSW Minerals Council Economic Survey

A survey of 23 mining members for 2016-17 highlighted the following figures related to the Mid-Western Regional Council Local Government Area (including Mudgee).

  • employees: 1509
  • business supported: 334
  • mining wages/salaries: $194.8 million
  • mining business purchases: $75.3 million