The state government has identified a potential source of sand that could be used for the renourishment of Stockton Beach.
The development is contained in a new Geological Survey of NSW report which shows the inner continental shelf in Stockton Bight contains the largest offshore sand resource in the local area.
The report commissioned by Deputy Premier and chair of the newly created Stockton Taskforce John Barilaro represents a significant step towards an offshore dredging solution for the area's severe erosion problems.
"I've long said offshore dredging is the only viable long-term solution for Stockton Beach and I'm very pleased to say this report confirms we have the right sand and we are one step closer to making it happen," Mr Barilaro said.
"I made a promise to the people of Stockton that we would set politics aside and put community at the heart of what we're trying to achieve, and this is just the beginning of what's possible if we all work together to get the best outcome."
While offshore dredging is not illegal in NSW, it does require a mining lease.
As a state significant development it also requires a development consent.
The Newcastle Herald has previously reported that four state government ministers, including Planning Minister Rob Stokes, have indicated their willingness to assist offshore dredging occurring for the purpose of renourishing Stockton Beach.
"If the proposal successfully obtains development consent, then I, as minister, will release the relevant areas and assess and determine the required mining licence application under the Offshore Minerals Act 1999," Mr Barailaro said in March.
City of Newcastle's draft coastal management program, which is on public exhibition, argues that offshore sand nourishment is the only viable option to get enough sand back on to Stockton Beach.
It's estimated that between 1.8 million cubic metres and 4.5 million cubic metres of sand is needed to renourish the beach from the Stockton breakwater to the Hunter Water land north of Corroba Oval.
It's estimated $21 million is needed for an initial mass offshore sand nourishment program, followed by $12 million in maintenance every decade.
The Geological Survey report, to be released on Thursday, notes that further investigation is needed to determine the quality, thickness and continuity of the sand sheet that has been identified.
City of Newcastle's consultants, Bluecoast Engineers, estimate the beach is losing 112,000 cubic metres of sand each year.
Further analysis is being conducted in an effort to determine what is causing the loss and where the sand is going.
It will be included in the broader Newcastle CMP, due for completion in 2021.
Mr Barilaro also unveiled the terms of reference for the Deputy Premier's Stockton Beach Taskforce, which will bring together government agencies, community leaders and other local representatives to help deliver long-term solutions for the beach.
The taskforce will hold its first meeting next month.