Miners turn out in high vis to demonstrate their support for Warkworth extension

December 20, 2013

There has been a strong show of support for the expansion of a Hunter Valley coal mine that will give a lifeline to 1300 workers and hundreds of companies that supply the mine. 
 
Dozens of business and community leaders have spoken out in favour of the extension of Coal & Allied's Mount Thorley Warkworth mine and the economic benefits it brings at the Planning Assessment Commission's public hearing in Singleton. 

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                              Attendees at the Planning Assessment Commission's public hearing

Chris Salisbury, Managing Director Rio Tinto Coal Australia, told the hearing that after a drawn out planning assessment and legal process, this modification is the only real option to avoid further significant impacts on production and jobs.

"This modification is important for the jobs of its workforce of more than 1300 people for the next two years. It will also give us time to look at options to provide a longer term future for a mine that has been operating for 30 years," he said.

"The mine's workforce and contractors have faced uncertainty about their future for more than four years since the application process began on the Warkworth Extension Project.

"At the end of day we need to provide the business, our workers and their families with a future, and we cannot do that if we continue to delay." 
 
Phillip Baker, Belinda Taylor, Mount Thorley Warkworth general manager operations Cam Halfpenny, Michael Caelli, RTCA managing director Chris Salisbury, Don Cant.

Along with representatives from some community groups and activists, the room was awash with high vis clad mine workers and suppliers that live locally and rely on the mine's operation to support their families. 
 
Speakers in support of the mine's continued operation included representatives from earth-moving equipment supplier Komatsu, Mount Thorley-based business Expressway Spares, employee representatives and Ryan Fitzpatrick, President of the Singleton Chamber of Commerce & Industry. 

"The vast majority of local businesses are in favour of the mining industry, because the industry currently underpins their employment, businesses and families," Mr Fitzpatrick told the Planning Assessment Commission hearing. 
 
"In particular  we support the Warkworth modification because the mine has supported the growth of Singleton and its residents for more years than anyone can remember. A strong community is so important to us and it is so rare to see the continuation of employment for miners and suppliers working at Mount Thorley Warkworth."

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