NSW Minerals Council Environment & Community Conference

September 16, 2013

Mining in NSW is a community-based industry, and community issues are the industry’s issues, NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee has told the Council’s 2013 Environment and Community Conference in the Hunter Valley.
 
“In NSW most of our miners live and work in the local towns and communities near where mining takes place.  This ensures that community concerns around social and environmental issues are very much our concerns too,” Mr Galilee said.
                                                                                                       
This year’s conference includes a broad range of speakers covering topics such as sustainability, community engagement, mine rehabilitation and air quality.
 
“Our industry likes to be challenged about the way we operate.  Throughout the program, we’ve invited speakers who will raise new ideas, challenge the industry’s thinking, and ultimately lead to improvements in the way we operate,” Mr Galilee said.
 
Despite the current industry downturn, this year’s conference has again attracted over 300 delegates, demonstrating the importance of environment and community issues to mining operations throughout NSW.
 
"Mining is critical to sustain jobs, investment and economic strength in NSW, and with the new Federal Coalition Government promising a new exploration incentive and a one-stop-shop for mining approvals, this conference will be very important,” Mr Galilee said.
 
“Our industry must ensure that we operate at the highest standards.  The strong industry attendance at this landmark event shows these issues are taken seriously in the industry.”
 
As well as the achievements of individual mines across the state, several industry-wide initiatives are being delivered through our Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue.
 
Following a commitment made through the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue, the industry is proceeding with the implementation of a project to ensure all mines incorporate weather predictions into their air quality management systems to help them prepare for adverse weather conditions that contribute to dust generation.
 
“We’re confident that the weather forecasting project will help improve the standards of air quality management across the region and complement the extensive range of air quality initiatives the Government and the industry have underway,” Mr Galilee said.
 
The industry is also implementing a standard water accounting framework across all mines in the Upper Hunter region.  The framework will allow a consistent and transparent analysis of water management and help identify opportunities for improvement.
 
“The water accounting framework is already providing useful information.  A preliminary analysis of the accounts prepared to date shows that more than 60% of water used in Hunter mines comes from either on-site storm water runoff or low quality saline groundwater,” Mr Galilee said.

“Capturing rainfall on site and making use of water unsuitable for most other purposes means more water available for other users and improved environmental flows. It also minimises the need to source water from local rivers and streams. The next stage of the framework will identify on site recycling and reuse opportunities."
 
Highlights of this year’s conference include:
  • The Hon Chris Hartcher MP, Minister for Resources and Energy, who will provide an opening address to delegates.
  • Greg Bourne, who has held senior leadership positions in the resources industry and conservation movement.
  • Siobhan Toohill, Head of Sustainability and Community at Westpac, and a recognised leader in the sustainability field.
  • Rugby league legend and coach of the Newcastle Knights, Wayne Bennett.
  • The annual Environment and Community Excellence Awards, which showcase leading practices in our industry.
 
Background
 
The NSW Minerals Council’s Environment and Community Conference is a signature event on the NSW mining industry calendar.
 
The purpose of the conference is to keep up to date with the latest developments in the environment and community areas, learn from each other’s experiences, and to challenge the way the industry operates.
 
A wide variety of speakers will share their ideas and technical expertise across issues ranging from mine rehabilitation, biodiversity management, air quality management, community engagement and planning approval processes.
 
Four mining companies have also been selected as finalists to compete in the highly prized Environment and Community Excellence Awards, showcasing this year’s best and brightest solutions to environmental and community challenges, with the winners to be announced at the Excellence Awards dinner on Monday 16 September.
 
Contact: Lindsay Hermes I NSW Minerals Council I lhermes@nswmining.com.au I 0409758734

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