Economic and social impacts of the Coppabella Mine on the Nebo Shire and the Mackay region

Rolfe, John, Lockie, Stewart, and Franettovich, Maree (2003) Economic and social impacts of the Coppabella Mine on the Nebo Shire and the Mackay region. Report. Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia.

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The Coppabella Mine has been established within the Nebo Shire by Australian Premium Coals. Mining operations commenced in 1998, and contractors are used to perform all mining operations. The mine produces approximately 5.5 million tonnes of coal per annum, and about 340 people are employed at the mine site.

The Coppabella Mine has contributed to the transformation of Nebo from an agricultural and administration centre towards a more mining focus. Previously, the impacts of mining in the Nebo Shire had been concentrated in Glenden (a mining town in the north of the Shire) and Coppabella (a railway town built to service the mining industry).

The mining industry makes a major contribution to the state and regional economies of Queensland. The industry accounts for significant job creation in the state because of the high income levels of employees and significant spending on business inputs. Beneficial flow-on effects result when that income to employees and suppliers is spent for business, consumption or investment purposes.

Despite the general appreciation of mining as a major economic driver of regional economies in Queensland, the impacts of mining on many local communities is harder to quantify. This is the situation for Nebo, where the development of a major mine 39 kilometres from the town has not appeared to have caused major adverse economic or social impacts. There are three broad reasons why the assessment of economic and social impacts is important for Nebo.

The first is that the local community is interested in maximising the positive benefits that flow from mining. These might include increases in population and business opportunities. However, the shiftwork operations of the mine contractors mean that most employees are based outside of the shire and have little connection with Nebo. There has been no construction of a dormitory town and associated infrastructure as occurred with other mines in the region. As well, businesses servicing the mining industry have tended to be located at a regional centre rather than smaller townships.

The second reason is that the local community may be anxious to avoid economic and social problems associated with mining. In recent years some mining communities have struggled to cope with change as the industry has reorganised and reduced its labour force. Many mines only have an economic life of 15 – 30 years, and closure has subsequent impacts on their service communities.

The third reason is that communities are essentially in the position of having to compete for population and businesses, because good communication and transport links make it easier for employees and services to be more mobile. Communities and local and state government have to provide the infrastructure and services that make communities viable and attractive. Identification of the economic and social opportunities available can be important in allowing communities such as Nebo the chance to capitalise on the opportunities available.

Item ID: 31319
Item Type: Report (Report)
Additional Information:

Report prepared for Australian Premium Coals Pty Ltd

Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2016 00:29
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960508 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Mining Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960601 Economic Incentives for Environmental Protection @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960908 Mining Land and Water Management @ 20%
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