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Hunter mining industry leader Sarah Withell is the new Chair of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue.

The Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue, the community forum for addressing issues relating to mining in the region, will be led by a new Chairperson.  

BHP’s Sarah Withell is an experienced mining professional who lives with her family in the region and has had a long involvement in the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue. 

As Chair, Ms Withell will head the Dialogue’s Joint Advisory Steering Committee which includes community, mining and government representatives. It’s an important committee that provides direction for projects seeking to address issues raised by Dialogue participants.

Past projects have included successful cattle grazing trials on rehabilitated mine land as well as initiatives to improve transparency, including the collection and publication of data on industry water use and mine rehabilitation performance.  

Ms Withell is based at BHP’s Mt Arthur Coal near Muswellbrook and is the company’s Head of Health Safety and Environment Business Partnership – BMC and NSWEC. 

Ms Withell is highly regarded in the community and amongst her industry peers. She was named 2019 “Exceptional Woman in Mining” at the NSW Women in Mining Awards and will represent NSW at the National Women in Resources Awards in September. 

BHP is an engaged member of the Dialogue and has a number of key people contributing to various projects and working groups.

Ms Withell said she was looking forward to her new role. “The work of the Dialogue is really important and I’m excited about this new leadership role in our community,” Ms Withell said.

“I’ve been a part of the Dialogue for a number of years and it’s a fantastic way for the community, regulators and industry to work together on solutions for any issues of concern. An important part of the Dialogue is listening to the community. And I’m really passionate about making sure we continue to deliver projects and information that matter most to the community.” 

Ms Withell also praised outgoing Chair, Glencore’s David O’Brien. “He’s been a great leader and contributor to the Dialogue,” she said.

“His commitment and involvement over the past few years has greatly contributed to the Dialogue’s success and continuing evolution.”

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee welcomed Ms Withell as Chair and praised Mr O’Brien for his time in the role.

“We’re grateful for David’s strong guidance and leadership and the significant progress made in addressing key community concerns during his time as Chair,” he said.

“We recognise the significant contributions Sarah has made to The Dialogue so far and we look forward to working with her in her new role as Chair.”

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