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NSW Mining @ The Coalface

The Pitch at NSW Mining’s annual Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference (HSEC) gives young mining employees the chance to pitch a project they’re working on, a problem they’re trying to solve, or an initiative they’ve championed and implemented at their workplace.

The presenters for this year’s The Pitch are being finalised now and will see six young mining professionals talk about their achievements in the industry and what should be done to ensure a responsible mining industry for today and tomorrow.

James Fisher, the Senior Geoscience Engineer at Centennial Coal was one of six presenters at last year’s The Pitch and was decided by the panel of four mining experts to be the winner.

James had seven minutes to make his presentation to the panel, and after some deliberation decided to focus on a problem that was close to home. 

“I wasn’t sure what I was going to speak about because you just do your job, and you don’t really think you’re doing anything interesting. The role that I’m in is to oversee some of the Geotech’s in the company and there are a few young ones, so part of my job is mentoring.

“That is part of my job that I enjoy, even though I’m young myself and that got me thinking about how I got into the industry.

“I grew up in Dungog, I had no idea what I wanted to do and in year 10 we had a geologist from Gloucester Coal come to school and she sold me on a career in mining. Four-wheel-driving in the mud, blowing up big rocks and in general playing with big toys. So, I enrolled in geology at the University of Newcastle and from there I did some vacation work and here I am.”

In his presentation last year, James didn’t have a solution, but he believed the subject was worth talking about and hoped everyone who heard him speak would go away from the conference and talk to young people they knew about getting into the industry.

“What concerns me most is that there is a lag effect, and things will get worse before they get better, so we really needed to act yesterday.”

NSW Minerals Council Director of Public Affairs Scott Keenan said one of the reasons they wanted to do The Pitch was to make sure younger voices were being represented.

“Most industry events like these tend to attract older and more experienced professionals – the industry’s leaders, which is understandable – but we also want to include the next generation of leaders to give them the chance to build networks, connect with like-minded people and learn about leading practices in the NSW mining industry.

“Following on from the success of The Pitch last year, we’ve added a new event to the conference program called Future Leaders Connect, sponsored by Newmont. Like The Pitch, it’s open to anyone aged 30 and under in the mining industry (mining companies or service provider businesses) and the best part is it is free,” said Scott.

James strongly encourages anyone to give The Pitch a go and is encouraging as many young mining employees as possible to get to HSEC in August.

“Embrace the challenge. It was a fear that was preventing me from doing it but after going through it and seeing how supportive everyone was, I am so glad I did it. Do it, you’ll thank yourself afterwards.

“I couldn’t speak highly enough of the experience and the whole conference in general was awesome. If you get chosen to give the talk, you’re one of the lucky ones so embrace it and you’ll love it.”

More details on Future Leaders Connect:
Details on the HSEC Conference:

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