WA’s resources sector supported at least 100 Kimberley businesses and 25 community groups in the past financial year. Data released last week by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Austtralia revealed the organisation’s member companies directly contributed $183 million in 2020-21 to the Kimberley economy through wages, rates and business payments. That pales in comparison to the Pilbara, where iron ore companies, oil and gas projects and smaller miners pumped $1.8 billion into the region’s economy last financial year. CME WA policy and advocacy director Rob Carruthers said gas developments and new metals discoveries would help the Kimberley’s resource sector reach the maturity seen in the Pilbara and Goldfields. “It is still very much in its infancy as an operating jurisdiction,” Mr Carruthers said. “There are some operations that have been going there for a period of time but nowhere near the scale of the Pilbara so you don’t see the same supply chain established yet. “The Kimberley is the diamond in the rough in terms of opportunities going forward so there is no simple silver bullet there but a lot of opportunity we hope can be got after.” Mr Carruthers said tyranny of distance remained a challenge for export-focused projects hoping to stack up against international competitors. Some 380 Kimberley residents were employed by companies captured in the data, attracting about $53m in wages.