Mining benefits for Australia highly exaggerated: report

Australian resource companies routinely play down health and environmental effects of projects and overstate their economic and employment benefits, a new report commissioned by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW has found.

The study, which analyzed seven NSW coal mining and gas projects currently in the assessment process, claims that most mining and gas companies gloss over the environmental and health costs of major projects to gain the necessary approvals.

According to the report models used by resources companies to assess impacts on employment include unrealistic assumptions such as there being no limits on the supply of skilled labour.

Damage to native vegetation and the rise of greenhouse gas emissions are also underestimated in most of the proposals, the document states.

NSW Minerals Council chief executive, Stephen Galilee, dismissed the findings. He told The Newcastle Herald the report was a rehash of discredited anti-mining claims.

‘‘The Greens and other groups behind the Australia Institute won’t be happy until all mining stops. This would devastate the Hunter economy and destroy our way of life, but that does not seem to worry them,’’ Galilee was quoted as saying.

‘‘By dismissing the importance of the jobs created by mining these groups are dismissing the economic welfare of over 80,000 mining workers and their families, including around 20,000 miners in the Hunter, in addition to all the indirect jobs created in supply and support industries,’’ he added.

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