By 1980, black was the new gold. In an energy hungry world still reeling from the oil crisis shocks of the early 1970s and dire predictions that the world’s supplies of fossil fuels were running out rapidly, it was the energy side of the “minerals and energy” duopoly that dominated proceedings in the annual report for 1980.

Gold was still there to be sure, and its days would yet come again when gold prices surged from around 2005 onwards. From a base of $500 an ounce in 2005 gold trebled in value by 2011, in the process making many ore reserves an economic proposition to develop.

That however is a story which is still unfolding …

Left: Mines Department Annual Report 1980. Images and content presented here from this report reproduced courtesy of NSW Trade & Resources, Minerals & Energy


“The coal industry is facing enormous challenges and huge capital expenditure, in which the State Government will also be heavily involved to the extent of investing some hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure required throughout New South Wales.”

Hence in 1980 – just as it was in 1880 – capital investment was recognised as the key to unlocking a bright future in minerals and energy mining in NSW.

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