Mine to cel­e­brate 50 years


IN CEL­E­BRA­TION of half a cen­tury of min­ing at BHP Bil­li­ton Mit­subishi Al­liance (BMA) Black­wa­ter Mine, the com­pany is host­ing a free com­mu­nity event next month with mu­sic, his­tor­i­cal dis­plays, ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren and lo­cal stalls.

The 50-year an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion will in­clude en­ter­tain­ment head­lined by the sounds of much-loved Rock­hamp­ton duo Busby Marou.

Ben Hi­att, Black­wa­ter Mine gen­eral man­ager, said the day would be an ideal op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate and ac­knowl­edge the mine’s his­tory, mile­stones, achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions to the re­gion.

“The event is also an op­por­tu­nity to thank past and present em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors for their in­volve­ment over the last 50 years of op­er­a­tions,” he said.

Mr Hi­att said peo­ple could bring pic­nic blan­kets and “en­joy an af­ter­noon of mu­sic, share your sto­ries, learn more about our his­tory, and cel­e­brate 50 years of min­ing in Black­wa­ter”.

BHP com­mu­ni­ties spe­cial­ist Peter Dowl­ing said the mine had a rich his­tory of sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­ness, lo­cal gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives and ed­u­cat­ing the re­gion’s youth.

“We see our­selves as part of the com­mu­nity and we’ve had a work­force here for 50 years in dif­fer­ent shapes,” Mr Dowl­ing said.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to add value to any com­mu­nity that we’re a part of.

“It’s also re­ally im­por­tant to recog­nise the peo­ple of Black­wa­ter and the Cen­tral High­lands that have sup­ported the mine.”

BMA Black­wa­ter Mine has been in­volved in many for­mal and in­for­mal part­ner­ships that have sup­ported the com­mu­nity.

“Of re­cent times we’ve en­joyed work­ing with the likes of the Cen­tral High­lands Re­gional Coun­cil, Cen­tral High­lands De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, the Black­wa­ter PCYC, the three Black­wa­ter schools, the Black­wa­ter In­ter­na­tional Coal Cen­tre and many lo­cal busi­nesses, com­mu­nity and sport­ing groups,” Mr Dowl­ing said.

“We’re do­ing some par­tic­u­larly valu­able work with the Black­wa­ter clus­ter of schools, through the READ part­ner­ship.

“The clus­ter is held up as best prac­tice for writ­ing across the state, mak­ing strong rel­a­tive gains with the lo­cal stu­dents.

“Who would have thought, that through our Cur­ricu­lum En­hance­ment Pro­gram with Black­wa­ter State High School, we played our role in sup­port­ing a group of stu­dents visit NASA in the United States?”

BMA’s Busi­ness Sup­port and De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram sup­ports a Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer (BDO) who plays an ac­tive role in train­ing and de­vel­op­ing lo­cal busi­nesses to help them im­prove their ca­pac­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and vi­a­bil­ity.

Mr Dowl­ing said since 2012 the “highly val­ued” Lo­cal Buy­ing Pro­gram had seen BHP op­er­a­tions spend more than $150 mil­lion with small busi­nesses from our Queens­land and New South Wales foot­print.

Of that, some $53.5 mil­lion was spent in the Cen­tral High­lands.

“The pro­gram gives small busi­nesses in our foot­print ar­eas di­rect op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­gage with us.

“Plus, it’s es­sen­tially a way of giv­ing us di­rect ac­cess to our lo­cal providers.”

Mr Dowl­ing said pro­vid­ing back­ing and op­por­tu­ni­ties for ap­pren­tice­ships in the re­gion was an­other vi­tal el­e­ment of the com­pany’s re­cruit­ment plan, as well as a new pro­gram which pro­vided stu­dents with the op­tion of a paid “gap year” work­ing at the mine.

“Black­wa­ter Mine started the pi­lot gap year pro­gram, specif­i­cally tar­get­ing Black­wa­ter State High School stu­dents who wanted to gain ex­po­sure to our op­er­a­tions,” he said.

“Stu­dents are able to ap­ply while at school and then, at the end of Grade 12, be­gin work­ing full-time for 12 months with BMA Black­wa­ter Mine.

“They get full ex­po­sure across all de­part­ments on site, as well as some of our cor­po­rate func­tions, dur­ing this time so they can de­ter­mine if they want to do some­thing in the min­ing in­dus­try.

“It’s a real eye-opener to re­alise how many dis­ci­plines and roles are re­quired in the min­ing in­dus­try.”

The event will be on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 7, from 2pm at the Black­wa­ter Crush­ers Rugby League Fields. Reg­is­ter at bwm50yrs.eventbrite .com.au.


FLASH BACK: The orig­i­nal Black­wa­ter rail­way sta­tion.


BIG READ: The READ project.

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