Hunter Mining Show offers new focus for region’s coal sector

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Updated: January 27, 2015

The inaugural Hunter Mining Show – the launch event for the Hunter Coal Festival – offers a new concept in regional shows for the mining industry through a unique focus on community engagement and involvement.

The Show will be held from Thursday March 12 to Saturday March 14 in Singleton Council’s Civic Centre – in the heart of the Hunter Valley coal mining region.

It has been specifically designed to engage not only the industry – through displays from local, national and international suppliers of products and services – but also to involve the entire community.

More than just a trade show, the Hunter Mining Show incorporates trade displays, demonstrations, information sessions and workshops, networking events – and culminating in the Hunter Coal Festival Community Day on the Saturday.

Both the Hunter Mining Show and the Hunter Coal Festival are owned by the Singleton Business Chamber, which developed the entire concept as a way of celebrating mining’s contribution to the region.

The Show was developed by the Chamber as the trade show component of the Festival, and to offer a broad-based business-to-business opportunity for a whole host of mining-related industry sectors.

The Chamber is running the festival in conjunction with Singleton and Muswellbrook Councils, Hunter Valley mining companies, local community groups and regional businesses.

Festival Chair Peter Eason said the Hunter Mining Show would feature over 75 suppliers of products and services, who would be looking to engage with a wide range of mining companies, contractors and businesses in the Hunter region and beyond.

“The Show will offer a new way for mining suppliers to engage with their customers – both existing and potential – as well has highlighting their offerings and capabilities to the broader community,” he said.

“We’ve really designed the Show – and indeed the entire Festival concept – as a way to promote understanding not only across the industry, but also dialogue and communications between mining and other industry sectors.’

Mr Eason said the Hunter Mining Show was also being promoted as an opportunity for mine and mine contractor employees to provide feedback to equipment suppliers.

“We recognise that the people who are operating equipment don’t always get the chance to talk to those who design, manufacture, service and sell that equipment,” he said.

“That’s because within an organisation, it’s often at completely different levels that decisions are regarding what equipment is purchased – and who then has to operate and maintain that equipment.

“We recognise that operators, maintenance crews, leading hands and supervisors are often decision-influencers; while they may not make the actual purchasing and contractual decisions, their opinions and suggestions are frequently taken into account.

“For that reason, we are actively working with local mining companies to encourage their people – management as well as those working at the coal face – to come along to the show, and participate in all it has to offer,” he said.

“And at a time when the industry is seriously working on keeping down costs while maintaining productivity, the input of those who are working within actual mining operations can be critical.”

Another key element of the Hunter Mining Show will be a series of workshops and information sessions, with a particular focus on health and safety.

“We are delighted to announce that Brant Webb, one of the survivors of the Beaconsfield Mine tragedy in 2006, will be participating in the Hunter Mining Show,” Mr Eason said.

“He’ll be in the region a few days before the show starts, talking to mines, community groups and schools about his experiences and the importance of safety – and then will be making a number of presentations during the show.”

On Saturday 14 March, the Hunter Mining Show will culminate in a Community Day.

Elements of this that have been announced to date include:

  • A street parade through the main streets of Singleton
  • Competitions, including tug-of-war, coal shovelling and coal-and-spoon races
  • Freestyle motocross demonstrations
  • Aerial acrobatics displays
  • A rescue demonstration involving the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Mines Rescue and Brant Webb
  • Mine simulator tours
  • Tours to local mines, to view open cut mining operations and mine rehabilitation programs
  • Kids’ and all-ages’ music concerts and entertainment.

Mr Eason said the overarching aims of the Hunter Mining Show and the Hunter Coal Festival were to highlight the economic value of coal to the region and the role it fulfils alongside other major economic resources –while also helping improving community morale.

“The coal industry is in one of the worse troughs it’s ever been in, and it’s a protracted one,” he said.

“The mood currently isn’t good and with this Festival we want to really lift the spirit of the community.

“We all understand the impacts of mining – but all too often its positive achievements are kept in the shadow.

“The Festival and the Show, with their strong community engagement, offer the opportunity for a loud shout out from the community – which is just the shot in the arm the industry needs right now.

“They also provide an opportunity for stakeholders, businesses and the community to interact, gain insights and get the chance to know and understand everyone’s diverse interests.

“We want to send a message back to the decision-makers that a lot of media coverage about coal is to the negative – but there is an awful lot of strong community support for the mining industry in the Hunter Valley,” he said.

“However, coal is just one of a number of very valuable economic contributors within our region.

“One thing we don’t want to do is promote this industry’s growth at the expense of other industries,” Mr Eason said.

“We want to send a message of cohabitation; we want to change conditions and perceptions, so we can all work and live together successfully in the same region.

“The mining industry is extremely generous and more than that, it is an integral element within the community. So the festival represents a big thank you to the mining for its participation and contribution over many many decades,” he said.

Further information: www.huntermining.com.au.