3 February 2015
NSW Premier visits Maules Creek Project – video and pictures
NSW Premier Mike Baird inspected progress at Maules Creek, hailing the ‘positive role’ the project is contributing to the regional and state economy.
The Premier visited the under-budget $767 million project to congratulate Whitehaven Coal on recently entering production at the mine, ahead of schedule and just a year since construction began.
“Mining plays a positive role in our state and the Maules Creek Project and others like it contribute significantly to making NSW the economic leader in our nation”, the Premier said.
With 761 people employed across its five mines, Whitehaven Coal is the single largest employer in the Gunnedah Basin.
The Premier visited the project with Whitehaven senior management including Chairman Mark Vaile, CEO and Managing Director Paul Flynn, representatives from Japanese partners J-Power and ITOCHU, councillors from Narrabri and Gunnedah Shires, representatives from the business community and the media.
“I look at this mine and get a strong sense of achievement,” the Premier said.
“It has been a long road under some difficult circumstances but royalties from this mine will start going towards better health services, better education and better infrastructure.”
He added: “I flew over a rehabilitated mine site on the way in and it’s proof that mining can leave behind sustainable productive land, mining can coexist with other industries and it has to coexist because mining is an important part of the NSW economy.”
Whitehaven Coal’s CEO and Managing Director Paul Flynn thanked the Premier for the support his Government had shown for the Project and its unequivocal acknowledgement of the central role that the coal mining industry continues to play for regional employment, investment and economic growth.
Mr Flynn said: “Maules Creek is a transformational project, not just for Whitehaven, but for an entire region which, over the next 20-30 years, will reap the benefits from the creation of around 450 new locally-based jobs, the injection of an additional $68 million in wages into the local economy each year, and $13 million in new infrastructure for the local area under our Voluntary Planning Agreements.”
He added: “Maules Creek has come in ahead of time and under budget, which is a huge achievement for a project of this complexity and confirms its status as one of the most efficient and lowest cost coal projects in terms of dollars per tonne of installed capacity developed in Australia for many years.”
NSW Minerals Council Stephen Gaililee, who also attended the event, said: “Today’s event at the Maules Creek project is a positive sign for economic opportunity and job creation in a region that has a long and proud history of coal mining going back to the late 1800s.”
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