Mine companies spend $1.4b in Illawarra

Mining companies spent more than $1.4 billion in the Illawarra, Wingecarribee and Shoalhaven last year, according to a new report on the industry's financial contribution.

A survey of NSW Minerals Council member companies showed total mine salaries in the region rose almost $50 million last financial year to $335 million, even as the workforce shrank by 96 people, to 2463.

Based on the figures, the average salary for the region's mine workers rose almost 18 per cent, to $136,007, in 2012-13.

And the $1.4 billion in direct spending - covering wages, goods and services, rates and contributions to community groups - was $444 million greater than in the 2012 financial year.

However, the council cautioned against comparing its reports, as 21 companies were surveyed state-wide in 2012, compared to 26 in 2013.

This year's survey was conducted by Lawrence Consulting and peer reviewed by the University of Wollongong's Centre for Small Business and Regional Research.

The report found seven out of eight regional sites contributed more than $1.4 million to 61 area community groups, and paid $509,332 in rates.

Direct spending from the mines was highest in the Hunter region, at $6.3 billion, followed by Sydney with $3.2 billion spent.

The council, a lobbying group tasked with furthering the economic interests of the state's $24.5 billion industry, reported mines indirectly supported 155,519 full-time jobs, or 4.3 per cent of total employment in NSW.

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