Minister MacFarlane visits Northparkes Mines

November 07, 2014

Federal Minister for Industry, The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, has visited Northparkes Mines in Central West for a second time to see significant advances in technology and performance at the state’s second largest hard-rock mining operation.

Pictured: Minister Macfarlane with Northparkes employees.
Minister Macfarlane returned to the mine for the first time since he served as Minister for Resources in the Howard Government. He met with eighteen apprentices and Farmer Geoff McCallum, well known as the face of our World Class Miners coexistence campaign, who is retiring after 18 years of farming at the mine and a long career on the land. 
The Minister praised the mine’s dedication to safety and reflected on the technological development since he first visited Northparkes Mines.
“The influence of safety is always prominent wherever I go. However, the big change at Northparkes, since I was last here, is automation. The challenge for Australia is maintaining our standard of living - technology and innovation, as I’ve seen today at Northparkes, are key to this.”
Loader Haul Dump (LHD) Fleet Automation has been a major innovation strategy at Northparkes Mines since 1999. Northparkes is the world leader in this technology and recently became the first mine in the world to have 100% of the production level accessible to autonomous LHDs.
Minister Macfarlane emphasised the importance of the mining industry, and the excellent maintenance and organisation of Northparkes as an example that should be emulated across Australia.
“Everywhere I looked, everything was well maintained and well ordered – this tidiness suggests the obvious pride of the workforce. I also know that the local community greatly values Northparkes. The mining industry around Australia has to emulate this. It is so important that the community sees value in the mining industry.”
Stefanie Loader, Northparkes Mines Managing Director, was extremely pleased to be able to show Minister Macfarlane just how far they have come.
“It was exciting to have Minister Macfarlane visit Northparkes at the same time we reached a significant milestone in the automation of our underground mining operations. Our apprentices and many others clearly enjoyed having the opportunity to meet him and talk about what we do at Northparkes, particularly in the areas of skills, training and automation, as well as our Zero Harm Operations culture,” she said.
“It is a privilege to have a senior member of government, visit Northparkes. We were delighted to welcome Minister Macfarlane back to Northparkes and now look forward to thinking about what we can achieve before his next visit.”
Mr Macfarlane also met with three of eight Northparkes employees celebrating 20 years working at the mine.

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