There are 13,000 miners working in the Hunter region. That’s not just a number. It’s 13,000 people who are critically important to the fabric of their local communities.
Our miners have families, with children that go to local schools and play sports with local teams on the weekend. Our mining families support local retail stores, cafes and restaurants, and have their cars serviced by local mechanics.
Our local miners and their families are a central part of the lifeblood of the Hunter. That’s why our mining community in the Hunter has grieved right along with everyone that has been impacted by the tragic bushfires that have hit our region and raged across NSW.
It’s also why our miners have rolled up their sleeves like so many others, to lend a hand in the recovery effort providing donations as well as supporting employees who serve with the RFS.
A number of mining operations across the Hunter have people who volunteer with the RFS on the fire front. Companies are doing a range of things to support them, like providing extended leave where necessary as these volunteers work under some of the harshest conditions imaginable to protect lives and property from the flames.
Some companies have also provided resources including monetary donations and supplies.
For example, Glencore operates eight mines across the Hunter and has been a strong supporter of Hunter communities during the drought. Amid the bushfire crisis Glencore stepped up again with a significant contribution to assist those involved with fighting the fires as well as with recovery.
Glencore will donate $500,000 to Blaze Aid to assist with reconstruction for areas affected by the fires; $250,000 to the local RFS units in the Upper Hunter and Mid-West regions; and $250,000 to Aussie Ark to help with wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.
Another of our major companies Yancoal has also made a significant contribution to the bushfire relief effort with a $500,000 donation to the NSW RFS as well as matching donations from employees. Yancoal is also supporting employees volunteering as part of the bushfire fighting effort.
The Bengalla mining operation near Muswellbrook has also been supplying local Upper Hunter RFS units with hydrant water and drinking water as well as new firefighting equipment to help them combat fires in the region.
Orica is a major supplier to mining operations in the Hunter and has announced a one million dollar donation divided between the Victorian Bushfire Appeal and the NSW Rural Fire Service and will match employee donations to a range of bushfire charities.
Through the BHP Foundation, another of our long term Hunter mining companies BHP has donated $2 million to the Red Cross to support emergency relief efforts to bushfire impacted regions through Australia. BHP’s Mt Arthur Coal rescue team has also donated a variety of first aid items to WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services) including needles and syringes, trauma dressing, gauze, tape and bandages, Burn Aid and more.
Further west, Evolution Mining owns the Cowal gold mine near West Wyalong, and has given $750,000 to NSW Rural Fire Service as well as $1.5 million to Rural Aid.
Many across our industry have been directly affected by the bushfires, and the threat of further challenges still remain. Our local mining industry will continue to stand by our local families and communities impacted by the tragic bushfires, now and in the months to come.
Stephen Galilee, CEO, NSW Minerals Council