New data highlights the resource industry’s mega contribution to Pilbara economy

Paul EveringhamPilbara News
Iron ore stockpiles at Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port facility near Wickham.
Camera IconIron ore stockpiles at Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert port facility near Wickham. Credit: Picture: Tom Zaunmayr, Tom Zaunmayr.

It’s always a fascinating insight for me to sit down and see what and how the mining and resources sector contributes to particular regions of WA.

Many people will be familiar with the more “macro” figures used in relation to the sector: like the $9.29 billion in royalties contributed to the WA Government in 2019-20, the 140,000 people employed Statewide and the $174b in sales we had in 2020.

But what about a more “micro” or regional view? That’s where CME’s annual economic fact sheets, which were released this week, come in, providing more granular insights into the way mining and resources supports local communities, businesses and local councils around WA.

In the case of the Pilbara, the 65 CME member companies who contributed to the 2019-20 analysis employed more than 5900 people on a full-time basis locally, with total wages of more than $930 million. Some 393 local businesses were supported, along with 103 community organisations and four local governments.

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Paul Everingham
Camera IconPaul Everingham

The direct economic contribution to the Pilbara was around $1.8b.

Mining and resources probably isn’t always seen as being a pillar of the Kimberley economy but our fact sheets show what an important contribution it makes.

Some 380 Kimberley “locals” work in our operations, earning wages of nearly $53m. The direct economic contribution to the Kimberley of those member companies was more than $183 million, including support for more than 100 local businesses, 25 community organisations and three local governments.

And really, these figures are only a fraction of the real impact of the North West on the economic fortunes of our State. For starters, those 65 companies reflect the majority of CME member companies but not all of them.

There are also mining and resources sector operators who don’t fall under our umbrella.

Other communities around WA also benefit from what happens in the North West, whether it’s the tens of thousands of workers from Perth, Peel or the South West who commute to operations for the duration of their swings, or businesses that are headquartered elsewhere but are integral parts of the supply and services chain for operators in the Pilbara and the Kimberley.

I’ve made the point previously that in every community in WA, you will find people who either work in mining and resources, are involved in businesses that benefit from and supply goods and services to our sector, or are members of community organisations and groups supported by CME member company contributions.

I’m very proud of the contribution CME member companies make to communities in the North West.

But I’m just as proud of the contribution the Pilbara and Kimberley and their people make to the rest of the State.

Rest assured, it’s a contribution that is both appreciated and valued.

  • Paul Everingham is the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA CEO

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