There are 17 mines expected to close in the Hunter over the next twenty years and 130,000 hectares of land in the region are either directly affected by these mines or held by mining companies in buffer lands around them.
|View the Transforming Mining Land in the Hunter webinar on 30th June recording here|
Consultancy EY developed three scenarios for the use of this land and modelled their potential economic contribution to the region’s future in its report Transforming mining land in the Hunter.
Extending biodiversity restoration and conservation as well as agricultural investment beyond mine sites and onto the “buffer lands” owned by mining companies will increase the economic output of mine closure processes. Under this “maximum conservation” scenario economic output and employment in the Hunter could more than double over the next 25 years, compared with the status quo.
Setting aside small areas of heavily-impacted land on mine sites for clean industrial development could enable the creation of 13,600 jobs across 10 different industries.
In particular, manufacturing which supports renewable energy and agricultural industries could grow to $3b over the next 25 years.
Just 1,630 hectares of strategically located infrastructure areas on existing mine sites would be needed to generate this jobs and investment scenario, creating balanced land use where biodiversity recovers, agriculture thrives and new clean energy and manufacturing industries are established.
The modelling shows that employment in these industries could ramp up between 2027 and 2041, when several large mine closures are expected.
What needs to happen next?
To make this vision a reality, the region needs a Hunter Valley Authority to oversee land use planning with community input and ensure biodiversity restoration and agricultural productivity thrive alongside targeted job creation on heavily-modified mining lands.
We’re going to take this vision to parliamentarians and government agencies to make it a reality.
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