Mining pays

By Bill Kaye-Blake 05/09/2013

Lazy and uninspired on a Thursday, so I’ll point you to Pattrick Smellie. He reminds us that extractive industries are productive industries.

These statistics tell a simple story: jobs in the mining, oil and gas sector are vastly more rewarding to New Zealand on a per job basis than jobs in the highest-value parts of the manufacturing sector.

This can be expressed even more starkly. The average petroleum or mining sector worker earns an average annual salary of $105,645 a year, more than twice the $50,262 national average salary for all industries.

I was looking at similar figures last week, because we were doing some CGE modelling of mining. I spend about half my time dealing with agricultural economics, so the mining statistics were eye-opening.

In the modern world, in today’s economy, with today’s demands and preferences, mining pays. That’s not to say it always will, and we should definitely keep in mind the trade-offs involved. But the discussion needs to be informed by economic reality, and Smellie has reminded us of that.