Energy and Mining Sector

24 Aug 2021

Mr COWDREY (Colton) (14:57): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister please update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is creating job opportunities for our community through the Growth State plan for the energy and mining sector?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:58): Thank you to the member for Colton, a very capable, very hardworking member who knows how our whole state benefits from our mining industry. The mining sector is growing fantastically at the moment, supported by the updated Mining Act and regulations, strategic investments and explorations, strong commodity prices and the excellent management of COVID to minimise disruptions.

More than 300 mineral and petroleum operators achieved the second highest production sales on record, reaching $7.1 billion in 2020, including a record high of $5.7 billion in mineral sales and $1.3 billion in petroleum sales. This is on the back of the record high royalties of $312 million in financial year 2020 to benefit all South Australians. The resource sector continues to grow and attract record high private new capital expenditure of $2 billion for mining in South Australia for the 12 months to March 2021.

Just last week, the OZ Minerals Board approved a $600 million expansion of Prominent Hill. This expansion will extend the mine's life to 2036 and increase copper production by 23 per cent on current levels. The expansion provides longevity for the 1,200-strong workforce and will increase royalties, which help fund roads, schools, hospitals, police stations, disability services, etc. It also provides opportunity for suppliers during construction and ongoing operations to benefit from the expansion.

The Department for Energy and Mining is working with OZ Minerals on the regulatory framework to authorise new activities. OZ Minerals' decision to expand Prominent Hill and promising results of investigations of two other copper targets nearby have the potential to open up further expansions over time.

The energy and mining sector directly employs over 13,900 people in South Australia, and no doubt some of them in the electorate of Colton. It generates over $300 million in royalties per annum and provides over $6.9 billion in production value. South Australia's copper strategy aims to boost production to one million tonnes over the next two decades. The Marshall Liberal government is delivering on our Growth State plan for the energy and mining sector by creating and sustaining jobs in the city and in the regions and in the outback.

It was a pleasure to be at the Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf conference on Thursday and Friday last week. On Friday morning, the Premier gave an outstanding speech to that group. The mining sector, the resources sector, is alive and well. It's very buoyant at the moment. There are enormous opportunities for economic growth in our state, and that growth includes massive employment opportunities. Agriculture and mining are our two largest industries in South Australia, and they are both incredibly important.

One of the things about the Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf conference that is fantastic to be able to share with members of this chamber is that that organisation was put together about 17 or 18 years ago to support the service companies in the Upper Spencer Gulf and outback which support the mining sector.

As I mentioned, there are over 13,900 jobs directly employed in the energy and mining sectors in our state, but there are approximately 41,000 people in South Australia employed directly and indirectly in the resources and energy sector. It is a massive contributor to our economy. It is done incredibly responsibly in South Australia with regard to the environment. It has a very bright future. It is working incredibly hard to fit in with all other sectors in our state—and long may it continue to contribute to our economy and our society.