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Equipment- In The Know



Keep moving with Coxon’s

Reduce your downtime and increase machine availability.

Coxon’s nosecone exchange and overhaul offers exchange nosecones for dozers, haul trucks and graders for efficient, safe and cost-effective maintenance. Scope can be tailored to your requirements and includes radiator, aftercoolers, fans, fan motors, valves, stairs, yokes etc.


The Epiroc SmartROC D65 has both the intelligence and power to drill production blast, pre-split and buffer holes up to 203mm.

Minimise your production costs by optimising drilling and blasting, improving fragmentation and reducing the quantity of explosives needed. HNS removes the need to both manually mark and survey hole positions.

Coal train

The new Nissan Navara Corporate Fleet evaluation vehicle is as tough as a locomotive.

Purpose built for evaluation in the greater Hunter region by Singleton Nissan on behalf of Nissan Motor Company, this mine ready beast is based on a Navara SL auto 2.3 twin turbo diesel automatic 4×4. Available now to businesses small or large to trial. Contact Jason King at Singleton Nissan to put it through its paces.

Fire fight

Well fitted, quality exhaust lagging helps prevent fires.

The Aletek product with its lobster-back design provides minimal joins for fluid ingress. The German made outer facing is non-abrasive and the insulation is over 93% silica which is non-itch and doesn’t go brittle under extreme temps. The internal facing is a silica crème cloth with stainless mesh which will withstand up to 1000°C. Aletek also offer professional fitting and thermography.

Tuff tray

Truckfit supply best quality fabricated and welded Steel or Aluminium built bodies.

Truckfit trays have been proven to outlast the vehicle they are fitted to on mine sites. Handling bulk mine spec orders Truckfit trays are 100% built in the Hunter Valley. Offering standard to full custom builds to suit any need as well as aluminium or stainless toolboxes.  

 Step up!

Tefol’s TefSteps ladder access systems are designed, engineered and manufactured in the Hunter Valley.

The product range covers earthmoving machinery including dozers, trucks, graders, loaders, drill rigs and shovels. TefSteps provide unique reliability and minimum maintenance due to fewer moving parts and failure points, machine integrated power and highly valued support.

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Coping With COVID-19



Australians have copped a lot during 2020 including the pandemic we are currently facing, which is why it’s important to remember we are stronger together.

Let’s be honest, isolation is sending us all a little bit loopy. We can no longer pop down to the pub for a beer, we can’t have a backyard barbie with our mates, and we can’t head to the gym. It’s a time that impacts us all in some way or another. Whilst we should always make our mental and physical health one of our top priorities, this is a time to truly focus on our wellbeing and practice self-care.

It’s affecting ourselves, our mates, our families and the communities that we belong to and in many different ways. After chatting with a number of people from a range of businesses and industries, it became clear that there were many different emotions running through the minds of people in the mining industry and wider community.

I’m sure you’re familiar with MATES in Mining, an organisation close to the hearts of us here @ The Coalface. MIM has worked hard over the years to reduce suicide rates in both the construction and mining industries by educating and informing through toolbox talks and programs and providing a support network of communication and access to passionate field officers and mates.

Field Officer Vincent Borg, from MATES in Mining

The case managers and field staff at MIM are there to listen, help and assist. But it’s more than that. These passionate, devoted and committed individuals are here to make a difference and the results throughout the industry proves that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Is what you’re feeling normal? Absolutely. Everyone is different and everyone has different coping mechanisms for different situations. It’s normal to feel different emotions and so I had a yarn to Field Officer Vincent Borg, from MATES in Mining (MIM) to see what we can do to help, and what you can do to remain positive. 

“I just wanted to take the opportunity to check in with you during these rather unprecedented times. COVID-19 has brought rapid and significant changes to our day-to-day lives and MATES recognises the potential impact this can have on the mental health of workers in the mining industry,” said Vincent.

“While various training activities and our access to some sites might be limited in the coming period due to COVID-19, we want to assure you MATES in Mining is still very active and is here for you. We will be working hard during this time to remain as connected as possible with you and your workforce. This will predominantly be via phone, email and social media.”

Whilst MATES has put in huge work to support industries and individuals during these unsure times, Vincent also wanted to emphasise that just because COVID-19 is here is doesn’t mean we can put our other problems and stresses on the shelf. 

We still experience the common life issues, problems and crises that happen to normal people living normal lives from the moment we are born. Breakups, anxiety, financial issues, loss, depression, workplace bullying, surviving disabilities, lack of motivation and anything else that might arise – they still need to be addressed and managed, even with the added stresses of isolation.

This can be overwhelming, but the key to maintaining your wellbeing during the pandemic, following the pandemic and in the future is balance. You might be wondering how you could possibly manage this. The answer – STAY CONNECTED. That’s where organisations like MATES in Mining, Beyond Blue, Headspace and Black Dog Institute can help. These organisations are available 24/7 and understand how overwhelming finding a balance during this time can be.

For our mining and construction industries MATES have a 24/7 national help line and case management services, Facebook page, website and an array of online support services available if you need to reach out. 

MATES have also put together some posters available online with some great tips and support. These can be printed and put around the workplace, sent to colleagues via email or shared on social medias to share the message that we are all in this together.

“In terms of site visits (i.e. for Connector refreshers and general support visits etc), we will be guided by you in relation to your current workplace policies and of course we will adhere to all directives from the relevant health authorities,” Vincent added.

Miners are essentials, they are still working hard, and they are working with new COVID-19 guidelines. All of us here @ The Coalface, our friends and our community are grateful and proud for the hard work we continue to see in our industry. Stay safe, stay healthy and keep mentally and physically active. Don’t be weak to speak.

COVID-19 has driven many members of the community to contact us with not only ideas to improve health and wellbeing during our current situation, but also stories of people in our community experiencing a number of issues with or without COVID-19.

We’re stronger together. Reach out, keep an eye on your mates and stay positive. 


Social distancing does NOT mean social isolation. In these times some people will naturally be anxious. Contacting people in whatever way is appropriate (online, phone, over the fence, etc) is an important way to say we are stronger when we stay connected.

It is normal to have a range of emotions – sad, angry, confused, scared. Using skills that got through tough times previously may also be useful. Talking to your mates can help.

If you must stay home, stay healthy – eat well, sleep, keep up some exercise, keep up some exercise, keep your social contacts with friends, workmates and family on the phone or online, do some gardening or yard work, read, create something new. Try to avoid excessive use of alcohol of other drugs.

Get the facts. Be aware that everything you hear or read about the virus may not be true. Stay up to date from a trusted source like

Spend less time listening and watching media coverage if you find this upsetting. Focus on an activity that gives you energy and life.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to a mate, ring MATES on 1300 642 111 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. Helping your mate to talk to someone works. Talking with someone can help.

Remember Mates are Stronger Together. Helping your mates to talk to someone works.
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Featured News

Adios Austar



As Yancoal’s Austar Coal Mine suspends production and transitions to care and maintenance operations, we take a look at the long history of the last coal-producing mine in the Cessnock area.

On 15 April 1916 surface operations commenced at Pelton Colliery in the South Maitland Coalfields. Over the next 104 years, various operations of both underground and open cut mining were conducted at Pelton and nearby Ellalong and Bellbird until in 1998 they were amalgamated and became Southland Colliery. In 2004, Yancoal purchased the mine, renamed it Austar Coal Mine and continued the proud heritage of mining the rich Greta seam.

Throughout its many owners and operators, the mine has had a significant role in the history of Cessnock and the surrounding region, providing employment and training opportunities for entire generations of local families.

It all began with 36 men and boys who were employed with only a third of them ever having worked underground before. Decked out in PPE consisting only of a hardhat, a pair of shorts, singlet and shin pads, these first miners used naked flames to see, air flow was created by an underground furnace and coal was cut by hand. 

A lot changed since those early days, especially in health and safety, but one thing remained the same throughout the years. The tough work ethic of the thousands of workers and contractors who toiled above and below the ground. A work ethic that was embedded into the very culture of the mine.

Because you needed to be tough to work at Austar.

It deservedly has a reputation as being one of the toughest mines in Australia. No other mine faced so many challenges with the size, variety, complexity and age of its surface and outbye structures. Infrastructure salvaged from old operations was put to work alongside some of the top modern machinery available. Austar’s workforce continually had to adapt and learn as new technologies were introduced and mining challenges were faced.

Austar Operations Manager Brian Wesley, “During my time at Austar I have had the good fortune to experience and share the great work culture that Austar employees exhibit in overcoming the various challenges throughout the years.”

“Austar has the badge of being the first mine to introduce longwall top coal caving into Australia and this was achieved at a time when the mine was on its knees after the Southland fire. Many clean skins were employed in the early stages of Austar and gained their mining experience in the tough mining conditions at Austar. It is a credit to the Austar workforce and its ‘can do’ attitude to achieve over 20 million tonnes of run of mine production from 2005 to 2020. There are many such examples of overcoming challenges through the Austar journey and I congratulate and thank the workforce for their efforts,” said Brian.

Austar’s biggest success story and what separates it from other mines is the introduction of the Longwall Top Caving (LTCC) system in 2006. 

Designed and manufactured specifically to the requirements of Austar and in accordance with strict mining regulations, it was the first LTCC system to operate outside of China. Within months of operation, it was steadily on its way to meeting production targets. What set the LTCC system apart from other longwall systems was its ability to optimise resource recovery by incorporating a rear AFC with a retractable caving flipper at the back of each shield. This allowed recovery at times in excess of 85% of the entire seam. 

During its many years of operation Austar also made a genuine positive difference to the local community, supporting many worthy projects and initiatives. Some notable highlights have included the long-term sponsorship of the annual Cessnock Mayoral Scholarship Awards and sponsorship of the Ellalong Hotel annual woodchop event, dedicated to Phillip Grant and Jamie Mitchell who tragically lost their lives in the 2014 mining accident.

At the end of March, Austar entered care and maintenance with a small workforce remaining on site and Yancoal will continue to evaluate mining opportunities to recommence production in the future. Regardless of what the future holds, the legacy Austar leaves behind is one to be proud of. 

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Featured News

Mining Supplier Stand Outs



The 2020 NSW Industry & Suppliers Awards Finalists have been announced and every year we continue to be blown away by the growing talent. 

NSW Mining Young Achiever of the Year – Sponsored by Evolution Mining

Steven FordhamManaging DirectorBlackrock Industries 

A proud Kamilaroi man, Steven Fordham is the Managing Director of Blackrock Industries based in Muswellbrook, which provides labour services such as earthworks, construction and cleaning to the mining industry.

Following a serious medical diagnosis doctors told Steven he probably wouldn’t live past 18. Steven says this meant he didn’t give much thought to his future nor take his education very seriously. After eventually teaching himself to read and working through a boilermaking apprenticeship, at age 25 Steven decided he wanted to ‘do something big’ with his life. He scraped together some savings, bought an old tipper truck, and Blackrock Industries was born.

Three years down the track and Blackrock industries is a multi-million-dollar company with 22 locations across the nation employing 120 people. Through Blackrock Industries, Steven started a programme called Second Chance for Change which works within the NSW prison system to give incarcerated indigenous men an employment opportunity and a way of creating a better future for themselves.

Steven’s goal is to be the first indigenous company to have a $1 billion dollar a year turn over as well as the first indigenous company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Ellie HawkinsScheduling EngineerCMOC Northparkes Mines 

Ellie’s goal was to forge a career in the mining industry right from the start. While studying at Wollongong University, Ellie was elected President of the AusIMM Illawarra Student Chapter. In 2017 Ellie joined CMOC Northparkes as a graduate mining engineer. 

In her first year, Ellie completed a term working as part of an underground crew as the only female member. During this time, Ellie put together a business case for wireless blasting technology. Within her first 12 months Ellie transitioned from her position as a graduate to the role of Drill and Blast Engineer with the concurrent role of Project Team Leader for the trial of a wireless detonation technology. The trial resulted in enhanced safety for charge crews as well as productivity improvements. 

In addition to being a strong advocate for gender diversity, Ellie’s goal is to see more innovations in technology implemented in mining operations at Northparkes to further boost safety and productivity.

NSW Mining Supplier of the Year – Sponsored by Whitehaven Coal 


Ampcontrol was established in Newcastle in 1968 and has become a leader in the provision of safe and reliable electrical solutions for the NSW mining industry. 

A focus for Ampcontrol has been investment in R&D and the pursuit of technological innovation. A team from Ampcontrol spent 30 months bringing the Rockstarter multi-function starter system to life. The Rockstarter offered improved monitoring with a smart-phone-style display as well as vastly superior functionality, able to be used with a broad range of equipment. The results of the Rockstarter system have been increased ‘up-time’ for equipment, time saving with regard to coordinating post-blast operations and increased productivity. 

As part of their focus on technological innovations, Ampconrtol also participates in the Australian Government’s P-TECH program, a collaboration of education and industry to help students develop skills and knowledge for a trade related career.  

Namoi WasteCorp 

Established in 2001, Namoi WasteCorp is a family-owned business that operates in and around the Narrabri Shire. The company employs 22 local workers, has a fleet of 20 trucks and specialises in general waste pickup, recycling, liquid waste removal, potable water delivery and hydro excavations for the region’s mining operations.

Over the past 18 months, Namoi WasteCorp has invested in technological and mechanical innovation to enhance safety, improve service for customers and reduce their environmental footprint. This has included new trucks with an increased carrying capacity that can collect three times the amount of waste per trip, saving fuel and reducing time on public roads.  

As well as meeting the challenges of improved environmental performance and enhanced safety, Namoi WasteCorp has achieved revenue growth of 35-40 percent since 2017 as well as providing almost one million dollars of work for local subcontractors in 2019. Namoi WasteCorp are proud to source their supplies locally to keep the money in the Namoi region and are long term supporters of local charity and sporting teams.

NSW Mining Operation of the Year – Sponsored by Quarry Mining

South32, Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Operations 

Illawarra Metallurgical Coal (IMC) operates in the Illawarra and Wollondilly regions of the southern coalfields and has two underground metalliferous coal mines, Dendrobium and Appin. IMC employs around 1,200 people, ninety percent of whom live in the local region, as well as providing work for nearly 1,000 contractors. IMC also spends around $160 million annually with approximately 400 local suppliers.

The focus of IMC at both its southern coalfield mines is long term sustainability based on more efficient performance and enhanced innovations in safety. A good example is the challenge of reducing dust exposure while increasing production at the longwall operation at the Dendrobium mine. IMC implemented and enhanced the leading-edge control and automation operation of the longwall miner, which not only allows for more accurate mining, but moves employees further away from in front of the long wall cutting zone. This innovation has improved health and safety outcomes and increased production by 18 percent.

IMC is also proud to work closely with the Illawarra community, contributing over $4.1 million in trust grants since 2004.  

YancoalMount Thorley Warkworth Mine 

Yancoal’s Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) mine operates 15km from Singleton and encompasses two integrated open cut mines employing approximately 1,300 people.

Yancoal acquired the mine in 2017 and set in motion an employee driven programme of cultural change to drive productivity, safety and to secure the future of the mine amid the challenges of a cyclical coal market. The Yancoal Our-Way programme was designed to empower employees to own the drive for improvement in safety, production and efficiency. At the heart of the programme, Yancoal rolled out the Culture Improvement Collaboration.

The results were outstanding with an unprecedented level of transparency and collaborative communication; the establishment of an employee driven ‘culture vision’ including benchmarks for efficiency, communication and whole-of-team excellence; and fostering the potential of those within the business.

MTW is a proud supporter of the Clontarf Foundation to improve the education and life skills of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. 

Outstanding Contribution to NSW Mining – Sponsored by The Bloomfield Group – Winner to be announced

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