AMRC NEWSLETTER – 30th April 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the April 2017 Newsletter for your information, please circulate this to your fellow councillors and senior staff so they can appreciate and understand the excellent work the Association and you are doing on behalf of your council and community with regard to mining related matters. This newsletter has a mining historical flavour based on Broken Hill for your information and interest, in view of the meeting being held in Broken Hill.

Events at the AMRC meeting in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017

As you are all aware, the next Executive Committee and Ordinary meetings of AMRC are in Broken Hill on 12th May 2017, with details on accommodation and travel options circulated in a previous emails to delegates by the Executive Officer. We hope all attendees are happily booked by the time this newsletter is circulated before the meetings.

The Executive Committee will meet in the morning of 11th May 2017, at 9am in the Musicians Club, the Ivory Room. The minutes will be circulated before the Ordinary meeting next day via email and in hard copy format.

A mine tour is  organised for the afternoon on Thursday 11th with a tour of the Cristal Sands Separation Plant. The CEO from the Mines Separation Plant will do a presentation to delegates thereafter take them on a tour of the mine site where access is possible.

Silver City Tours will then take the delegates to the Perilya Mine Museum at the Reilya Mine Site and then a tour of the district high lighting mining related features and commentary by the tour guide, on board the bus.

The networking dinner on Thursday night will be held at the Astra, corner Argent and Crystal Streets, around seven to seven thirty, bar facilities are available beforehand, with Ordinary meeting next morning being held at the Musicians Club, in Crystal Street on the 12th, at 9.00am, where we have morning tea at 10.30am and lunch at 12.30pm before departing.

Broken Hill has a lot of mining history of national interest, and Councillor Christine Adams, a local historian from Broken Hill City Council will enlighten delegates at the meeting on Friday morning after the Mayoral welcome from Councillor Darriea Hurley on the mining nad heritage history of Broken Hill. Should be an interesting perspective on mining from a local councillor.

Information on the Cristal Mine Separation Plant, it’s proposed expansion, Perilya Mines and Mining History are provided below to give some background in case you cant make it.

1.Cristal Mines Separation Plant (from their website)

“Cristal Mining is one of Australia’s premier mineral sands miners. Cristal Mining’s mining and mineral separation operations are located in two significant mineral sands provinces in Australia, namely the Murray Basin in New South Wales and southwest of Western Australia.

Cristal Mining was formerly named Bemax Resources Limited (Bemax) and was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Cristal Mining, under its former name Bemax, was incorporated in Australia in 1987 and has grown through successful exploration and acquisitions, including the acquisition of the Western Australian-based Cable Sands group in May 2004. Cable Sands, which continues to operate as a subsidiary of Cristal Mining, is one of Australia’s first Titanium minerals producers, having commenced production in 1956.

In late 2004 and early 2005, Bemax commenced construction of the Ginkgo Mine and Broken Hill mineral separation plant in the Murray Basin. Heavy mineral concentrate production at the Ginkgo Mine commenced in December 2005 and commissioning of the Broken Hill mineral separation plant occurred in February 2006.

In 2006 Bemax became the largest producer of leucoxene, the third-largest producer of rutile and the seventh-largest producer of zircon globally, and is now recognised as one of Australia’s premier mineral sands miners.

In 2008, Cristal Australia Pty Ltd acquired all of the shares in Bemax via an off-market takeover bid and Bemax was removed from the ASX official list of listed companies.

Cristal Australia Pty Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited (Cristal). Cristal is a private company with headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2. Expansion of the Cristal Mines Operations –  Western NSW region.

Further information was gleaned from their website which outlined their expansion plans as per the following Fact Sheet which talks about Broken Hill, Balranald, Cobar, Central Darling Shire Councils and the mines infrastructure needs in relation to road, rail and energy which is of topical interest, albeit in retrospect and has not been updated on their website.

Ginkgo – Snapper Surface Mining Projects – Cristal Mining presently has two operating mines in the Murray Basin. Dredge mining has been in oper­ation at the Ginkgo mine near Pooncarie since Dec 2005. Surface mining commenced at the nearby Snapper mine in 2010 with a second dredge commencing at Snapper in Jan 2011.

The ore is initially concentrated at site and then trucked to Broken Hill for further processing at our mineral separation plant (MSP). Final MSP products are transported by rail to Port Adelaide where they are shipped to our customers in Australia and to the rest of the world.

Atlas – Campaspe Surface Mining Project – Cristal Mining is planning to establish a further mine in the Murray Basin to be called Atlas-Campaspe. Atlas-Campaspe will be located 80 km north of Balranald and approximately 270 km south-east from Broken Hill. Because of its remote location, construction of appropriate infrastructure support has been a major component of development.

Cristal Mining is currently funding an $8 million feasibility study to determine the viability of the Atlas- Campaspe Project and to achieve both State and Commonwealth government environment approval and Development Consent. The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was completed and submitted to the Department of Primary Industries of NSW in February 2013 and environmental and mining approvals are expected by the end of 2013. Preliminary design is planned to commence during 2014.

The deposit consists of over 6 million tonnes of contained heavy mineral to be concentrated and processed into Ilmenite, Leucoxene, Zircon and Rutile end products. The mine has a planned mine life of 11-20 years.

Economic Impact – The Atlas-Campaspe project will require a capital investment of approximately $200 million (2012 dollars) staged over 6 years, with an initial up-front cost of $140 million. Over 200 personnel will be required during the construction phase of the project. Between 100 to150 full time employees will be required when the site is operational.

Benefits to the local and State economy over the mine life are estimated at over $1,000 million. This would also incorporate a further expansion of the present Broken Hill MSP.

Infrastructure – Power options are presently being considered. Initial power will be via on-site generators. The option to construct a new power line from Balranald will be revised at a later date.

As mentioned logistics is an issue in a remote location like Atlas Campaspe. At this time the preferred transport route is to truck heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) from Atlas-Campaspe to Ivanhoe, and then rail the HMC from Ivanhoe to our MSP. This route involves travelling highways from Balranald to Ivanhoe. There is approximately 50 kilometres of unsealed road to the south of Ivanhoe.

A proposal put forward by the local shires of Balranald and Central Darling is to have this section sealed as part of the Wool Track between Balranald and Cobar. Cristal Mining has supported the local shires in this endeavour and has secured State Government funding for this project.

With potential infrastructure upgrades and employment opportunities on offer in the local area, positive community feedback from Ivanhoe and Balranald has been strong.

Sustainability and Environment – Cristal Mining has a successful record of rehabilitation in both the east and west of Australia. Former mining projects Jangardup, Yarloop and Sandalwood have been successfully rehabili­tated in consultation with the local landowners.

Cristal Mining recently completed its first major rehabilitation program in the Murray Basin at Wemen and Ginkgo mine sites. Innovative design has significantly reduced the effects of erosion at these sites. Not even the 1-in-200 year flooding event that occurred in February 2011 could dampen the efforts.

Community – Cristal Mining employs 211 staff and over 350 contractors at these operations the majority of whom live within the region. It is estimated that the State and the region benefit by over $120 million per year in salaries, payments to suppliers and royalties.”

3. Perilya Mining at Broken Hill (from their Website)

“By approaching opportunities with a fresh set of eyes, using innovative approaches to tap into the rich seam of past knowledge, and introducing new practices and technologies, we believe that we can unlock the considerable latent value at Broken Hill.” Paul Arndt – Managing Director  & CEO

In 2010 Perilya achieved a significant milestone – its first eight years of successful operation of its Broken Hill Mine.  The company has brought a new lease of life to the historic Broken Hill mine since acquiring it in June 2002, increasing production and extending its life to more than six years based on existing reserves. 

During these eight years, Perilya Broken Hill mined approximately 15 million tonnes of ore and shipped over 800,000 tonnes of zinc metal and 450,000 tonnes of lead.

Further increasing ore reserves and extending the mine life at Broken Hill to beyond 10 years are important cornerstones in the company’s strategy for sustainable growth.

World class ore

The Broken Hill ore body is “world class”, having produced more than 200 million tonnes of ore over the 120 years since mining commenced in 1885.   This long history in mining has endowed Perilya with well – developed infrastructure that has the capacity and flexibility to operate at higher volumes and with a range of ore sources.

Despite Broken Hill’s long history, many areas still remain relatively under explored – creating new and exciting opportunities for Perilya.

Perilya now manages 1,042 square kilometres of prospective terrain which includes the mine leases, incorporating the Southern Operations, the North Mine, and the Potosi Trend, and the historic Little Broken Hill and Pinnacles areas.

The Broken Hill operation produces two products, a zinc concentrate and a lead concentrate.  Concentrates from Broken Hill are a premium coarse-grained product, being of low complexity and containing a grade of about 50 per cent zinc in the zinc concentrate and 70 per cent lead in the lead concentrate.

Mining techniques

Perilya has introduced significant changes and improvements in the operations at Broken Hill. An underground equipment replacement program has resulted in improved productivity, while the concentrator was simplified to improve recoveries and concentrate quality.

Mining is principally conducted using a long hole open stope method with variations developed for extraction of the secondary resource located in the previously worked pillars area.

Long hole stoping currently accounts for 70 per cent of underground production, with pillar extraction and development ore contributing approximately 30 per cent of the total. The ventilation system comprises ten ventilation shafts with three surface exhaust fans and one surface intake fan.

The proprietary techniques and operating approaches developed through operating a large, complex remnant mine not only enables Perilya to extract full value from Broken Hill, but also provides a competitive advantage for developing other challenging ore bodies.

The miners

Perilya is fortunate to be part of a skilled and experienced mining community that is supportive and has a strong sense of identity.  The company has an experienced and settled residential workforce, one that blends younger professional and technical expertise with mature Broken Hill mining experience – a workforce that is committed and eager to embrace new ideas and technologies.

Looking forward

Perilya aims to increase production and improve margins at the Broken Hill mine, one of the largest historic base metal mines in the world.  Development of the North Mine, the Potosi decline and Flying Doctor deposit (subject to feasibility) will provide additional ore streams to fill spare concentrator capacity.  In addition, promising near mine exploration has the potential to create further development opportunities in the Broken Hill region.

4. Mining History of Broken Hill (from the www.travelin.com.au website)

Built on the back of mining, Broken Hill boasts an incredible story of life underground.

After more than 125 years of mining in Broken Hill, the 7.5km-long, 1.6km-deep Line of Lode has yielded 300 million tonnes of ore – enough to fill more than 1500 Sydney Opera House concert halls – and generated over $100 billion.

Boom, bust and bravado

Fortunes have come and gone in Broken Hill against an economic background of boom and bust.

Today, mining in Broken Hill is still big business. It generates more than $400 million a year, which, in 2012, accounted for almost half of the city’s gross regional product. The two main mining operators, Perilya and CBH Resources, together employ more than 500 locals in mining works.

Over the years, the vivid stories associated with extreme fluctuations in the city’s wealth have contributed their own richness to the unique character of Broken Hill.

You can experience these stories first-hand on a series of easy, self-guided walking tours – the Broken Hill Heritage Trail, the Broken Hill Cemetery Walk or the Heroes, Larrikins and Visionaries of Broken Hill Walk. Pick up a brochure from the Broken Hill Visitor Information Centre.

Syndicate of Seven

Seven men from Mount Gipps Station put Broken Hill on the map in 1883. The group, known later as the Syndicate of Seven, discovered ore on an isolated ‘broken hill’. These men were George McCulloch, Charles Rasp, James Poole, David James, Philip Charley, George Urquhart and George Lind. Together, they formed the first mining company in Broken Hill, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP).

Rasp and his fellow station hands David James and James Poole pegged out the original lease in September 1883. Rasp is the most famous of the seven today, but the equally well-educated and considerably tougher George McCulloch actually masterminded the syndicate and helped form BHP in 1885. McCulloch was an active patron of the arts and helped establish what is now the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery. McCulloch also funded Broken Hill’s first hospital.

The young jackaroo Philip Charley also benefited from the find. Charley first recognised silver chlorides near Rasp Shaft (pegged by McCulloch) and his ongoing involvement enabled him to import a 1907 Silver Ghost – the first Rolls-Royce in Australia. But others didn’t do so well. George Urquhart and George Lind sold their shares at a loss. James Poole sold half his share to the cattle king, Sidney Kidman, for a herd of bullocks worth only £40. As perspective on their mistakes, in its first year alone BHP mined ore worth more than £42,000 (equivalent in value to about $6.5 million today). You can see busts of the original Syndicate of Seven outside the Broken Hill City Council Chambers.

Pioneering Unionism

For most of Broken Hill’s history, mining was a very dangerous profession, but social changes made here resonated around the world. In the late 1800s, safety in the mines was the sole responsibility of the workers themselves. As a result, miners put up with terrible conditions, toiling away by lamplight with hammer and chisel, and breathing silicon-laden dust underground or lead fumes from the smelters. Many died of miners’ phthisis or lead poisoning. Accidents were common and often resulted in death; over the years, more than 800 miners have lost their lives on the job. Today, their legacy is commemorated at the Miners Memorial that stands on top of the Line of Lode.

This memorial is a telling reminder of why Broken Hill pioneered a culture of trade unionism, including the introduction of the 35-hour working week and the defeat of conscription in Australia. In 1890, almost every worker on the Line of Lode belonged to a union like the giant Amalgamated Miners’ Association, once one of the most powerful unions in Australia. Massive attempts were made to improve working conditions, including a large strike in 1892.

Union activities at the turn of the century were frequently hostile, which led to Broken Hill developing an infamous reputation for intense and frequent strikes. The conditions that induced these events were a far cry from modern, safety-first methods that use high-tech extraction machines, huge dump trucks and cement-lined underground roads. The city’s proud militancy is presented in the 1905 Trades Hall building – the first privately owned trades hall in the southern hemisphere – and in murals on walls of buildings in central Broken Hill.”

Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

A meeting was held in Sydney with the NSW Minerals Councils CEO Steve Galiliee and Director Policy Greg Sullivan, (their Chair seat is vacant and they have called for expressions of interest for a replacement who is to be appointed soon), Association’s Chair, Cr Hollee Jenkins, Steve Laone and the Executive Officer. The meeting discussed our respecteve differences in the negotiations on the VPA plus Resources for Regions eligibility criteria and other matters of interest.  

Both parties agreed to continue as the is still more to do with a cents per tonne model by the AMRC or call it another name with some variations to ensure we get what our communities need versus the NSWMC worker domicile model being altered to account more for post mining impacts on the community. The clarity on the use of IPART as an umpire, when are they involved, who pays and the legal substance of the documents, still needs to be agreed to by the parties and to fit in with with NSW State Government changes, so busy times ahead getting this sorted. But we are not too far apart on the models and final agreement.

More details are provided in the business papers and further discussions will be held at the meetings in Broken Hill this week.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP)

We have finally got to the bottom of this.

Enquiries and minutes have revealed that it appears that the panel has been established to independently review projects being funded by the NSW State government for projects such as Resources for Regions, Water and Waste Water backlog Program for Infrastructure NSW, Country Bridges, and other infrastructure projects, etc. However the appointment of the CEO from NSWMC and the former Executive Officer were on the Panel only  to review Resources for Regions applications and the Panel recommended to the Minister who received grants against set criteria as independents..

The officer on the Panel from Premier’s and Cabinet Department, Chris Hanger, is to write to the Association to request the appointment of a delegate to the Panel to replace Don Tydd. There are no current applications to consider.

The panel consists of Roger Fletcher (Chair), Fiona Simson (ex Clr Liverpool Plains Shire Council and National Farmers Federation), Jenny Davis (convenor from NSW Infrastructure), Derek Schoen (NSW Farmers), Richie Williamson (private appointment), Stephen Galilee (NSWMC), Don Tydd (AMRC), Chris Hanger (NSW Department of Industry now Premier ‘s and Cabinet Department), Naomi Dinnen (Treasury) and Ray Calligeros (Probity Audit).

Enquiries are continuing as to the background, status and if an AMRC delegate is to be part of this panel. Delegates will be updated in due course.

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus has been on getting more relevant information on the site such as minutes, submissions, etc.

Changes to delegates has been rectified and if there are any other discrepancies or ideas on its format please contact the Executive Officer who will organise to adjust the details and consider all options.

Photographs will be changed as they evolve such as a photo of chair Shinton and Deputy Chair Connor with Shadow Minister Adam Searle at the meeting on 2nd March 2017.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

A working party has been established to review the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Framework for next three years.

The chair and convener is AMRC Deputy Chair Coal Cr Chris Connor, the members of the working party appointed on 2nd March 2017 are:-

  • Cr Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council
  • Cr Michael Banasik, Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Cr James Nolan, Broken Hill City Council
  • Glen Wilcox, Lachlan Shire Council
  • Jason Linnane, Singleton Shire Council

The convenor will provide an update to the meeting at Broken Hill in May with the aim to have it presented to the delegates for consideration in August.

Related Matters of Interest

“We’re getting out of coal”.  “Starting in 2022 and ending by 2050, we are getting out of coal. We already run Australia’s largest solar and wind farms. We’ve also started afund that will put up to $3billion into making renewable energy for everyone. And this is just the beginning. You with us?”……….. Who do you think would place full page adverisements like this in daily papers? It was in the Sydney Morning Herald 24th April and was presented by AGL. More details from their web site www.agl.com.au/the plan.

“‘How Adani mine could cost us $70m” Published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 24th April 2017, the article raises concerns in the press that a proposed loan of $1 billion from the Commonwealth Government to fund a rail link to the giant Adani mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been called into question by economic modelling showing it may cost NSW hundreds of millions dollars a year by increasing the global supply of coal by about 6%. The article says some NSW mines would close, jobs lost communities affected and state government misssing out on $240million a year in royalties, etc

A spokesperson from the NSW Department of Industry made this statement in response “NSW produces high quality coal that is exported mainly to Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan. We do not expect a significant impact on the traded coal prices or NSW coal production if the Adani project is approved. All matters in relation to this project are for the Commonwealth and Queensland governments”. NSW Minerals Council was reported as not wanting to make a comment. The Australia Institute commented. Refer www.smh.com.au

“Council pushes Westpac to reject Adani mine”  Byron Shire Council has upped the pressure on Westpac over any potential funding of the Adani mine by voting to withdraw the $1million it has with the bank.. The Council also said it woul prevent Westpac getting any of the $70million plus term deposits held by the council that is maturing this year. Byron Council has aligned with six other councils on this stand. Westpac said they had not been approached by Adani and the other three traditional banks have said they would not fund them. Refer www.smh.com.au 24th April 2017.

VPA Working Party Visits

If any council would like to know more about the background to the VPA Working Party, progress with negotiations and how the models proposed for Road and Non Road impact calculations, the timelines and the proposed Guidelines will work, please contact the Executive Office. Arrangements can be made to do a presentation to your council or its relevant staff to assist, by members of the Associations Working Party.

Contact

If you have any queries in relation to this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact the Chair or the Executive Officer to see how we can assist you in your busy role as a Council delegate to the Association of Mining Related Councils.Our contacts are:-

Chair, Clr Peter Shinton, by email peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.su or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont – Executive Officer

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 31st March 2017

Introduction

Delegates, here is the March 2017 Newsletter for your information, please circulate this to your fellow councillors and senior staff so they can appreciate and understand the excellent work the Association and you are doing on behalf of your council and community with regard to mining related matters.

Expanding the Association

There is a lot of press circulating about renewable energy options given the seious energy issues experienced in the recent South Australian black outs; the establishment of possible battery plants to assist; wind farms popping up in Western NSW; solar farms built in Nyngan, Moree, Broken Hill and potentially at Walgett, Gilgandra and Warren Shires; new mining likely to open up in Dubbo (rare earths), Armidale (antimony), Coolamon (tin) and Glen Innes (tin) and expansions at Nyngan, Cobar (metals) and Narrabri (coal).

Then there is the Coal Seam Gas in the Pilliga, a possible power station at Boggabri and the Snowy Mountain Hydro Scheme and a review of the Resources for Regions eligibility criteria forecast. As they say in the clasics its all happening and to watch this space!

A question to ponder – should only those councils that are members of the Association of Mining Related Councils be the recipients of Resources for Regions funding to look after regional and remote communities affected by mining related activities or not?

It has been mentioned in conversations among delegates in recent times informally, that it might be time for the Association of Mining Related Councils to consider a name change and to consider expanding its scope to embrace the need for councils in NSW to have a stronger voice on not just mining related non renewable matters but renewable energy matters; provide assistance with Planning Agreements; utilise the experience of mining related councils that are members of the Association and sit at the table when renewable and non renewable energy options are discussed by the Federal and State governments.

There are no other entities out their representing their communities in any of these matters like the Association of Mining Reklated Councils has the potential to, other than perhaps LGNSW in a broad policy sense, there is a window of opportunity here to consider in due course.

Perhaps it is time for the Association to look at other options such as reviewing our constitution (which has been done to move from coal to metalifferous in the past) and to consider renaming to the Association of Mining and Energy Related Councils or similar.

Food for thought!

Attendance at Meetings

Because of all the busy schedules of councils, we need your help as we still need an idea of who is attending meetings, which affects the catering costs as you know these days are usually signed off on estimated numbers weeks before and this could be significant if the majority of Council delegates don’t attend. If you can, please have your Executive Assistants let the Executive Officer know when you can’t attend meetings with plenty of notice.

There is also the issue of having a quorum for our meetings. With the uniqueness of our membership, the tyranny of distance is always a problem for us to deal with.

Our constitution states that a quorum is more than half the number of member councils in attendance i.e. at least 11 councils to be represented at tha Ordinary meeting is the quorum. If not present, then the meeting has to be deferred for an hour and after that set down at a later date and place by the Chair or the Executive deals with the business, hopefully we will never get to this.

I look forward to seeing you all at future meetings for your important input and debate, in particular Broken Hill.

Next Meeting to be in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017

The next Executive Committee and Ordinary meetings of AMRC is in Broken Hill on 11th/12th May 2017. Details on accommodation and travel options have been circulated in a previous email to delegates by the Executive Officer.

The Executive Committee will meet in the morning (TBA) of 11th May 2017, in the Musicians Club, minutes will be circulated before the Ordinary meeting next day. A mine tour is usually organised and we are trying to get a tour of the Cristal Sands Separation Plant.

The networking dinner that night will be held at the Astra, corner Argent and Crystal Streets, around seven to seven thirty, bar facilities are available beforehand, with Ordinary meeting next morning being held at the Musicians Club, in Crystal Street on the 12th, where we have morning tea and lunch before departing.

Hope to see you all there, Broken Hill has a lot of mining history of national interest, should be an informative and interesting occasion.

Submission on EPA Act Changes presented on 31st March 2017

Consultant Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental assisted the Association with the preparation of our submission to Department of Planning on the poposed changes to the Environment Assessment and Planning (EPA) Act on how it may affect your LGA.

The Association presented its submission on 31st March 2017, commenting on the proposed changes to the EPA Act and this has been forwarded separately by email for your information and posted on the DPE and AMRC websites.

The documents referred to can be accessed by going to the Department of Planning and Environment website:-http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au and look at legislative updates, consultation periods, topics and submission dates, etc.

Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

The next meeting of the VPAWP has been put on hold until meetings with the Chairs of NSW Minerals Council and AMRC and Executive Officers and Working Party are held to discuss differences in the negotiations on the VPA plus working closely on Resources for Regions eligibility criteria and other matters of interest.  Suggested date is 28th April in Sydney, yet to be confirmed.

There is still more to do with a cents per tonne model by the AMRC versus the NSWMC worker domicile model and clarity on the use of IPART as an umpire, when are they involved, who pays and the legal substance of the documents, which needs to be agreed to by the parties and to fit in with with NSW State Government changes, so busy times ahead getting this sorted.

In discussions with NSWMC, they are keen to meet and dates are being considered for late April and prior to that have requested that the VPAWP prepare a written proposal on matters to consider at that meeting which will include the above plus other issues such as Resources for Regions grants only be allocated to members of AMRC and so forth.

The VPAWP is to meet beforehand with the AMRC Chair to develop the items and arguments for alternate models to the NSWMC preferred worker domicile model and other matters of interest outlined.

Resources for Regions Advisory Group (RFRAG)

Clr Hasler attended another RFRAG meeting on 16th March 2017 and when he reports back to delegates in May at the Broken Hill meeeting, the results of his submission to them on the proposed changes and reactions from staff to his questions will be outlined.

When his submission and questions, answers are to hand they will be forwarded to all delegates.

Regional Independent Assessment Panel (RIAP)

At the March 2017 meeting of AMRC, it was requested that the Executive Officer make enquiries as to the status of an AMRC delegate being represented on this panel and the background to it. Preliminary enquiries and minutes have revealed that it appears that the panel has been established to independently review projects being funded by the NSW State government for projects such as Resources for Regions and Water and Waste Water backlog Program for Infrastructure NSW, and other infrastructure projects, etc.

Documentation from the minutes of 19th May 2016 in AMRC records reveal that the panel at the time consisted of Roger Fletcher (Chair), Fiona Simson (ex Clr Liverpool Plains Shire Council and National Farmers Federation), Jenny Davis (?), Derek Schoen (NSW Farmers), Richie Williamson (?), Stephen Galilee (NSWMC), Don Tydd (AMRC), Chris Hanger (NSW Department of Industry), Naomi Dinnen(?) and Ray Calligeros OCM (Probity Audit).

Enquiries are continuing as to the background, status and if an AMRC delegate is to be part of this panel. Delegates will be updated in due course.

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus has been on getting more relevant information on the site such as minutes, submissions, etc.

Changes to delegates has been rectified and if there are any other discrepancies or ideas on its format please contact the Executive Officer who will organise to adjust the details and consider all options.

Photographs will be changed as they evolve such as a photo of chair Shinton and Deputy Chair Connor with Shadow Minister Adam Searle at the meeting on 2nd March 2017.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

A working party has been established to review the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Framework.

The chair and convener will be AMRC Deputy Chair Coal Cr Chris Connor, the members of the working party appointed on 2nd March 2017 are:-

  • Cr Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council
  • Cr Michael Banasik, Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Cr James Nolan, Broken Hill City Council
  • Glen Wilcox, Lachlan Shire Council
  • Jason Linnane, Singleton Shire Council

A lot of preliminary information was presented to the Executive Committee on 1st March 2017 by the Executive Officer to assist the working party. A draft will be presented to the August Ordinary meeting in Sydney.

Related Matters of Interest

DPE Social Impact Assessment – Draft Guidelines for State Significant mining, petroleum production and extractive industry development

Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental has sent an email attaching submissions from Yancoal, NSW Minerals Council (NSWMC) and Muswellbrook Shire Council to the AMRC Executive Committee members, in relation to the above Department of Planning and Environment public exhibition documents and whilst all submissions are all on the DPE portal, the Executive Officer has copies of these documents, if you would like to have them forwarded.

Yancoal are supportive of meaningful engagement but are concerned about the proposed role of the community being more heavily involved in setting the parameters of the assessment process for State Significant Developments (SSD’S) when the specialists in the DPE should be dealing with the issues raised and not giving more responsibility to the community to be involved.

NSWMC shared the view of Yancoal but went further and wanted the community being involved deleted from the Guidelines and an assurance given that the DPE staff had adequate skills to be able to assess the Social Impacts Assessment and more scenarios included on how it will all work.

NSWMC argue that mining developments do not displace significant numbers of people in NSW, the displacement is minmal and dispersed and have obviously not considered what happened to Dunedoo with the buy up of farms, families left town never to return and the mine did not proceed!

Muswellbrook Shire Council put forward similar arguments to that of the Association and pushed the argument that the affectations on the social fabric of the communities involved needed closer consideration.

Executive Committee member Cr Owen Hasler from Gunnedah Shire Council has forwarded these comments on the aforementioned submissions for delegates information:

Dear All,

I found these three documents very interesting and reflect my experience both on the Working Party and as the Resources Advisory Forum representative.

To my mind it is clear that Yancoal is driving the Minerals Council position which says, in my interpretation, the following:

1) The Preliminary Assessment Guidelines are excessive!!

2) There should be a standard form of SEARS (Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements) for SIA.

3) Community selected Peer Reviewers is impractical and unlikely to increase community confidence!!

4) DPE trained staff should have increased training and conduct Peer Reviews (and when such a review is required needs to be addressed in the guidelines which is a reasonable suggestion).

5) Recommendation page 11 – potentially affected people, they question this interpretation.

The position from Yancoal is as follows:

1) DPE best custodians of the Peer Review process-best positioned to make decisions!!

2) Timing of PEA (Preliminary Environmental Assessment) – should be no change.

3) What is the community?? I see some validity in this question.

4) Measuring sentiment – questions how this can be achieved.

5) Expectations of engagement – don’t like the example.

Basically they don’t like the changes!!

The Muswellbrook Shire Councils submission  – is, in my opinion, an excellent submission reflecting the great deal of experience they have had in this regard.

SUGGESTION: that these three submissions are provided to our delegates/ member councils for their information.

I know that the submissions are available on the website but how many will access such without a prompt. I believe that by providing these submissions we are more likely to have an informed membership”.

Renewable Energy Targets and Energy Supply Options:

Headlined ‘Renewable Energy Supply boosted but short of Target’ The NSW governments Renewable Energy Action Plan 2016 shows NSW drew 14% of its energy sources from renewable sources, 7% from gas and 79% from coal in 2015.

The article mentions NSW and SA energy policies and comments from the Prime Minister on wind generators, closure of Hazelwood in Victoria which supplies energy to NSW, AGL plans to close Liddell at Muswellbrook in NSW in 2022, commments from NSW Energy Minister Harwin seeking a Federal governement National Energy Policy position to guide and assist the states to have secure energy sources to meet community demand. Adam Searle, opposition energy spokesman said the figure exposes NSW households and businesses to an energy crisis because all of the main current power sources – coal fired power stations that now provide 80% of energy will be closed in 20 years.

(Source : SMH 14TH March 2017, see website www.smh.com.au )

Fears of Job Losses over Gas supply price increases

Brickworks have indicated that with a 79% jump in gas prices, brought on by its scarcity, was affecting production in NSW, possible closure of plants and a loss of jobs likely to be the result. Options are or them to move their plants overseas. They have commented on their concerns publicly criticising the NSW state government for their inaction on not pushing for more gas exploration and mining to address the situation for business and residents.

(Source : Daily Telegraph 3rd March 2017, see website www.dailytelegraph.com.au )

Solar Farms for the West

It was reported in the Nyngan Observer 22 March 2017 that proposed solar power farms could generate sustainable power and jobs for Western NSW communities including Gilgandra, Warren and Walgett The NSW Minister for Resources, Energy and Utilities, Hon Don Harwin has announced that 12 proposed new solar farms are in the “state planning pipeline”.

In the article, the Minister for Planning and Housing, Hon Anthony Roberts also indicated that the proposed Sunraysia Solar Farm at Balranald would produce double the solar energy at Nyngan which currently produces 100megawatts for 32,000 homes. He further indicated that ‘the aim of the NSW government is for a  secure, reliable affordable and clean energy future and projects such as Gilgandra Solar Farm, Nevertire Solar Farm and Walgett Solar Farm are great opportunities that enable the state government to deliver on this”.

There are eleven solar farms alredy approved since 2011 which will generate 660 megawatts for 200,000 homes and another twelve proposed solar farms would generate more than 1000 megawatts for 365,000 homes. These will result in short term jobs in the construction phase and ongoing maintenance phase in towns such as Gilgandra, Hillston, Narrabri, Armidale, Coleambally, Gulgong, Walgett, Jemalong, Balranald, Nyngan and Hay.

(Source: Nyngan Observer 22nd March 2017, see www.nynganobserver.com.au )

Expansion of the Snowy Hydro Scheme

The Prime Minister has announced recently a $2billion grand plan for expanding the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricty Scheme by another 50% to introduce a 2000 megawatt battery, a quarter bigger than the doomed Hazelwwod power plant, to smooth out supply as more and more solar and wind energy plants are introduced intermittently and uncoordinated without any real plan.

With the nation faced with rising prices for energy options, respective state governments failing to guarantee energy supplies for their constituents, bad publicity about the options v the current siituation, no direction nationally, etc the Federal government comes out and makes this announcement as part of the fix.

(Source: SMH 18-19 March 2017, see www.smh.com.au )

Development Assessment Best Practice Guide

The Department Planning and Environment have released the Development and Assessment Best Practice Guide to help council’s meet the government’s ambition of 90% development approvals  being determined within 40 days. The guide was tested as a pilot with selected councils and consists of best practice procedures from councils that met high levels of service to council customers. It comes on top of signicant changes being introduced to planning in NSW by the state government.

(Source: SMH 21ST March 2017, see www.smh.com.au )

Power Station for Boggabri?

The town of Boggabri was suggested as the ideal spot for a new power plant because of the high quality – coal available at its door step at Maules Creek, Boggabri and Turrawan, and the current national discussion about the nation’s energy situation, by  a regional Councillor.

The State Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries indicated he is against the idea as he said NSW was moving towards a better mix of energy sources and another coal fired power station would be a step in the wrong direction. Mr Humphries said “we are transitioning into renewables and alternative energy sources like gas, that is largely where it is going – all of the 12 solar farms we have on the books, four are in Barwon. We have a small gas fired generator out here at Narrabri, another one of those may be an option down the track to help with peak load demand “

The Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton in the same article said “he was open to an investigation on the possibility. I would support the concept if it became a possibility and at this stage I am keeping an open mind. A significant issue to be looked at would be cost of connecting to the grid”.

(Source: Northern Daily Leader 30th March 2017, see www.northermdailyleader.com.au )

Easter Break

Easter is upon us and in the middle of the school holidays, so take care on the road, don’t eat too many bilbies, enjoy the festivities and celebrate this special religious occasion with your family and friends.

Contact

If you have any queries in relation to this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact the Chair or the Executive Officer to see how we can assist you in your busy role as a Council delegate to the Association of Mining Related Councils.Our contacts are:-

Chair, Clr Peter Shinton, by email peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.su or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont  – Executive Officer

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 28th February 2017

Introduction

Here is the February 2017 Newsletter for your information, please circulate this to your fellow councillors and senior staff so they can appreciate and understand the excellent work the Association and you are doing on behalf of your council and community with regard to mining related matters.

Busy Time for AMRC Delegates

Delegates, we hope you are enjoying your role as a Councillor or Senior staff member whilst undertaking the ardous tasks of reviewing your Community Strategic Plans, meeting with your constituents, engaging with them and seeking their views on what they expect from your Council for your Delivery Program and Resources Strategy plus undertake your normal roles! Phew, there is a lot on for everyone. “You only get out what you put in” I heard someone say the other day, keep up the good work and the results will come.

Community Strategic Plan, Delivery Program and Resourcing Strategy

Don’t forget to ensure your participation in the Association of Mining Related Councils as a delegate is part of your Delivery Program four year plan actions, to ensure you can represent and advocate on behalf of your communities at the highest level – with NSW Minerals Council, State Ministers, Shadow Ministers and their Executive staff and other important stakeholders already on our agenda to meet and outline what we are about this year.

Expanding the Association

With new delegates, the setting up of working parties on the VPA, the Strategic Plan Review, meetings to be set up with Premier, Deputy Premier, Ministers, Shadow Ministers, Opposition leaders, leaders of minority parties, etc plus the enthusiastic input by delegates the whole ‘mojo” of ARMRC is reaching new levels.

There has been increased interest out there in the state of NSW for Councils to join our Association as mining and renewable energy projects emerge in their Local Government areas. The more members and increased coverage of the state we have in our Association, the greater the strength of our voice and the more likelihood of our communitiy issues being heard and addressed at the top tables.

If you have or hear of any interest please let the Executive Officer know for he and the Chair to chase up. There have been several councils identified to date that have attended our meetings in the past or enquired of delegates and need following up, which they will be visited in the near future.

Ordinary Meeting in Sydney 2nd March 2017

For those of you that attended the meeting in Sydney on 2nd March 2017, thank you for making the effort on a wet rainy day and a big thank you to those that sent their apologies.

Because of all the busy schedules of councils, we need your help as we still need an idea of who is attending the meeting, which affects the catering costs as you know these days are usually signed off on estimated numbers weeks before and this could be significant if the majority of Council delegates don’t attend. If you can, please have your Executive Assistants let the Executive Officer know when you can’t attend.

There is also the issue of having a quorum. Our constitution states that a quorum is more than half the number of member councils in attendance i.e. at least 11 councils to be represented is the quorum. If not present, then the meeting is deferred for an hour and after that set down at a later date and place by the Chair or the Executive deals with the business, hopefully we will never get to this. I look forward to seeing you all at future meetings for your important input and debate.

Unfortunately, the speakers invited to the meeting on 2nd March 2017, could not attend and offered their apologies – the CEO NSW Minerals Council (Steve Galiliee), the Minister for Planning and Environmental Services (the Hon Andrew Roberts) and the Minister for Resources and Energy (the Hon Don Harwin).

However we were fortunate to have the Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy and Industrial Relations, MLC Adam Searle attend in their place and spoke with delegates about Planning, Resources for Regions, Renewable Energy and Mining matters generally.

Adam acknowledged that there is a lot on the government agenda at the moment and  whilst he wasn’t totally abreast of all of the issues and changes with the recent portfolio allocations, he encouraged the Assocition to pursue all political avenues to address our concerns with VPA’S, Resources for Regions, etc and to strongly advocate on behalf of councils with mining related issues particularly in light of the upcoming state bi – elections on 8th April 2017 and later in the year amalgamated council elections.

Next Meeting to be in Broken Hill 11/12th May 2017

The next Executive Committee and Ordinary meetings of AMRC is in Broken Hill on 11th/12th May 2017.

The Executive Committee will meet in the morning of 11th May 2017. A mine tour is usually organised by the host council after lunch on 11th (Cr Jim Nolan and/or General Manager James Roncon to assist), networking dinner that night with Ordinary meeting next morning on the 12th, delegates depart after lunch. Hope to see you all there, Broken Hill has a lot of mining history of national interest, should be an informative and interesting occasion.

The meeting on 2nd March 2017 at Rydges Sydney Central was attended by delegates from 11 councils with new delegates from Cessnock City Council (Cr Jay Suvaal and Cr Melanie Dagg) and Narromine Shire Council (Cr Col Hamilton), in the words of an attendee ….I have been to the last four meetings of Association and this was the best I siad why, he said because it was participative, relevant and informative. See you in Broken Hill.

Submission on SIA Guidelines presented on 3rd March 2017

Consultant Warwick Giblin of Oz Environmental assisted the Association with the preparation of our submission to Department of Planning on the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) of the Draft Guidelines for State Significant Mining, Petroleum, Production and Extraction Industry development as to how it may affect your LGA.

The Association presented its submission on 3rd March 2017, commenting on the SIA proposed changes to the Guidelines and this will be forwarded sepaerately by email for your information and posted on the DPE and AMRC websites.

The documents referred to can be accessed by going to the Department of Planning and Environment website:-http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au and look at legislative updates, consultation periods, topics and submission dates, etc.

The LGNSW submission on the same topic has been provided to the Association this will also be forwarded under a seperate email.

Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

The next meeting of the VPAWP has been put on hold until meetings with the Chairs of NSW Minerals Council and AMRC and Executive Officers and Working Party are held to discuss differences in the negotiations on the VPA plus working closely on Resources for Regions eligibility criteria.  

There is still more to do with a cents per tonne model by the AMRC versus the NSWMC worker domicile model and clarity on the use of IPART as an umpire, when are they involved, who pays and the legal substance of the documents, which needs to be agreed to by the parties and to fit in with with NSW State Government changes, so busy times ahead getting this sorted.

Resources for Regions Advisory Group (RFRAG)

At the meeting in Sydney of RFRAG on 23rd January 2017, the DPE staff presented the proposed changes to the EPA Act 1979 and documents on exhibition. Clr Hasler has raised questions for the DPE staff to answer in due course on the Social Impact Assessment Draft Guidelines and State Significant Developments, in relation to the following key issues:- more and meaningful consultation on proposals, a requirement on major developers to liaise with community and councils, the content of the documentation being more prescriptive, for the developer to demonstrate how they have consulted and finally with the DPE to lead the consultation process for transparency purposes.

The EIS is usually a very large document and absorbs a lot of a council’s resources to assess without compensation. This is a key point in the submission to DPE on new VPA Policy proposals submitted on 3rd March 2017.

Clr Hasler will no doubt keep us informed when his responses are received and he reports to delegates after their meeting on 16th. Any documentation referred to Executive Officer by Clr Hasler will be forwarded to delegates in due course on these matters.

The DPE have extended submissions on the EPA Act changes until end of March 2017.

Website

The website is a work in progress and the focus will be about getting more relevant information on the site such as minutes, submissions, etc. Changes to delegates has been rectified and if there are any other discrepancies  or ideas on its format please contact the Executive Officer who will organise to adjust the details and consider all options.

Photographs will be changed as they evolve such as a photo of chair Shinton and Deputy Chair Connor with Shadow Minister Adam Searle at the meeting on 2nd March 2017.

Review of Strategic Framework (Plan) 2017 – 2020

A working party has been established to review the 2013 – 2016 Strategic Framework.

The chair and convener will be AMRC Deputy Chair Coal Cr Chris Connor, the members of the working party appointed on 2nd March 2017 are:-

  • Cr Melanie Dagg, Cessnock City Council
  • Cr Michael Banasik, Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Cr James Nolan, Broken Hill City Council
  • Glen Wilcox, Lachlan Shire Council
  • Jason Linnane, Singleton Shire Council

Cr Connor will be in contact by electronic means with working party members in due course.

A lot of preliminary information was presented to the Executive Committee on 1st March 2017 by the Executive Officer to assist the working party. A draft will be presented to the August Ordinary meeting in Sydney.

Related Matters of Interest

Coal Seam Gas:

Santos have submitted its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Narrabri Gas Project to the state government for assessment. A community information session is to be held in Narrabri at the Crossing Theatre on Thursday 16th March 2017,  2pm – 7pm for members of the community to ask questions of technical experts present on drilling, geology, field operations,environment and water. Further information on the EIS can be found on the following websites:-

 (Source : Advertisment in The Courier, Narrabri and DPE website)

New Mine to open east of Armidale

It was reported in the Northern Daily Leader on 3rd March 2017 that a new underground antimony mine 23 kilometres east of Armidale at Clark’s Gully on the Waterfall Way has gained conditional approval from Armidale Regional Council .(Refer www.northerndailyleader.com.au)

Greens Coal Ban Plan

 It has been reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph on 3rd March that the Greens are planning to scrap NSW’S $25 billion coal industry with a new policy focussing on de -licensing thermal coal operators. The Greens say the policy is necessary to address climate change. The Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Don Harwin indicated that the proposals would threaten energy security whilst the NSW Minerals Council CEO, Steve Gailiiee responded that it was a recipe for disaster and NSW could not afford to lose jobs and lights out across the state. Interesting times ahead.(Refer www.dailytelegraph.com.au)

Shenhua Exploration Licence in doubt

Shenhua requested in 2016 to be exempted from having to meet the extension to their exploration licence in the Breeza region near Gunnedah and Quirindi, which expired in October 2016. Minister for Resources and Energy is being asked for an update on its status by the Caroona Coal Action Group. The headlines in the local press are casting doubts on the mine getting the go ahead for the coal mine proposed for the Liverpool Plains. (Refer  Namoi Valley Independent website for details on article on 2nd March 2017 on www.nvi.com.au)

Moree Solar Farm

Moree Solar Farm was officially inaugurated in Moree on Friday 3rd March 2017 after construction commenced on the 56 megawatt facility. It features 222,880 solar PV panels which can generate 145GWh on energy annually. It is expected to supply enough energy to power more than 24,000 Australian households annually. Further details can be obtained form Moree Plains Shire Council or Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).(Refer details Nortern Daily Leader 4th March 2017 on www.norterndailyleader.com.au)

Contact

If you have any queries in relation to this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact the Chair or the Executive Officer to see how we can assist you in your busy role as a Council delegate to the Association of Mining Related Councils.Our contacts are:-

Chair, Clr Peter Shinton, by email peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservcie.com.su or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont – Executive Officer

Clr Peter Shinton – Chair

AMRC NEWSLETTER – 22nd DECEMBER 2016

Introduction

Delegates, continuing and new, welcome to the Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC).

This is our first newsletter, provided for you with an initial focus on providing an update on what has been happening in recent times during 2016 and providing information sources and links for your areas of interest. It is more like an update report rather than a newsletter but here goes.

There is plenty to be done to ensure the Association achieves its objectives in accordance with the Constitution, whereby you as a delegate and your Council are satisfied with the return on your investment. If not then please let the Chair, Executive Officer or any of the Executive know your views.

This newsletter will initially be in a pdf format with work to be done with CIBIS International (our original web page provider from Newcastle or another entity), to set up an online Newsletter run through the website for subscribers to comment and have more relevant links and information for delegates. I commend you to have a look at the website for background to AMRC and you will see there are alot of changes to be carried out.

Our Executive Officer

Don Tydd, former Executive Officer of AMRC, left the AMRC effective from 1st September 2016, after four years as the Executive Officer, to pursue other interests. The General Manager and staff of Warrumbungle Shire Council kept the function going on a shoestring basis until the new Executive Officer commenced and they are to be congratulated for the excellent job they have done.

Greg Lamont started with AMRC on 14th November 2016, as an independent contractor through his consultancy company to provide the suite of services required for the role of Executive Officer, including the secretariat and finance functions. He is on an annual performance based contract with Key Performance Indicators to meet as set by the Executive Committee on 8th December 2016.

Greg was one of two delegates to AMRC from Narromine Shire Council (as the General Manager) and had a strong involvement in AMRC matters as a member of the Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party and a keen contributor on the development of the Strategic Plan, Conduct of Elections, Expressions of Interest for the establishment of a panel of environmental consultants to provide expert comment to AMRC, when required.

Our Constitution

The Constitution for AMRC is on the webpage but may need updating to reflect the conduct of election options and quorum changes approved in 2016 ie a quorum for Ordinary meetings to be a majority of members being present, ie if 20 members AMRC, then it is 11 members represented at the meeting for a quorum, rather than the number of delegates attending.

There is potential for the AMRC Constitution to be reviewed to expand the functions of AMRC to embrace renewable energy developments that may be established in your Local Government Area (LGA). Any changes are up to delegates to consider and agree upon in 2017. And a formal process to follow to change the Constitution. Food for thought when wind farming, solar and coal seam gas are becoming bigger issues in NSW and maybe your LGA.

Our Executive Committee

The Chair of the AMRC Executive Committee is the Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Clr Peter Shinton. He is assisted by two Deputy Chairs in Clr Chris Connor, Wollongong City Council (Coal) and Clr Lilliane Brady OAM, Cobar Shire Council (Metaliferrous – Gold, Copper, etc) and the Executive Committee members in Clr Owen Hasler, Gunnedah Shire Council, Clr Hollee Jenkins, Singleton Shire Council and Clr Jim Nolan, Broken Hill City Council. Elections are held annually. Meetings are held at least four times a year and generally within two weeks of the Ordinary meeting of all delegates of the AMRC.

Our Ordinary Meetings

Ordinary meetings are held quarterly and localities set at the Annual General Meeting in November each year. Next meeting will be in Sydney on 2nd March 2017 at a venue to be agreed upon by the Chair and Executive Officer. The Executive Committee will meet the afternoon before on 1st March 2017. Next meeting thereafter will be in Broken Hill in May, Sydney in August then Singleton in November 2017, dates to be finalised by Executive Committee in due course. Speakers are still to be finalised for 2nd March 2017 and a NSW Government Cabinet re-shuffle is mooted for January 2017, which may impact on the availbility of  a Minister of the Crown to attend the meeting in Sydney in March 2017, however relevant speakers will be sourced.

Our Webpage

Whilst there is a lot of background information in the headings on the webpage, as alluded to earlier in this newsletter, there is still a lot of information that needs to be updated since new delegates were appointed and AMRC elections held in November 2016. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good history and information on the webpage with the potential to provide more relevant details for delegates and an opportunity for you to comment or present or share any mining related items of interest at anytime. You can subscribe to the website.

These changes will be done as a matter of course and when the General Manager of CIBIS (current provider) or another entity and the Executive Officer meet and agree on the level of service, processes and changes, in consultation with the Chair, this will occur but may not happen until early 2017 given the current festive time of the year and other changeover priorities.

The webpage does provide some links and since first established in 2012 these need to be broadened to reflect the relationships AMRC have and will need to build on to meet the challenges in a changing society.

Our Future –The Strategic Framework 2013 – 16

The AMRC met in 2013 to chart a course for its future development and developed a Strategic Directions Statement in the form of a Strategic Framework for 2013 – 2016, as a catalyst for achievement, relevance and ongoing contribution to member councils and their communities in the years ahead. The Strategic Framework consists of a Vision, Mission, Role and Strategic Initiatives to build member value and capacity plus strengthen the Association’s advocacy ability and to refine our structures to enhance the effectiveness and response of AMRC.

Consequently, areas of focus and actions were identifed to achieve this. It is now an opportune time with new delegates, a new Executive Officer and a changing landscape with mining to revisit this Strategic Framework for AMRC. A sub committee was formed to do this however the indecisiveness of amalgamations in NSW in 2016 and future of some member Councils, delayed the process. It is proposed that a workshop will be held in 2017 to do this.

In the meantime a copy of the Strategic Framework for 2103 – 2106 is not on the website so it has been attached to the email for this newsletter for your information.

Our Voluntary Planning Agreement Working Party (VPAWP)

The AMRC is represented on a Working Party with representatives of the NSW Minerals Council and their consultant, developing an improved process for the creation of a flexible model for a Voluntary Planning Agreement (Planning Agreement) that can be struck between a Council and the developer as a miner or otherwise. The impacts of the development on the infrastructure of a council and the social impacts on the community are considered as part of the development process and appropriate compensation is made by the developer to the council.

This is not meant to be a barrier to the development but to get agreement up front with the support of the Department of Planning and Environment as part of the approval process with IPART as an adjudicator if agreement is not reached or their is an impasse.

Delegates involved from AMRC are Clr Owen Hasler (Gunnedah Shire Council), Clr Hollee Jenkins (Singleton Shire Council), Mr Steve Loane, (General Manager, Warrumbungle Shire Council) and the AMRC Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, with assistance from Consultant Warwick Giblin (Oz Environmental).

NSW Minerals Council representatives are Greg Sullivan, Director Policy – NSW Minerals Council, Dave O’Brien (Glencore Mining), Mark Jacobs (Yancoal Mining) and Barb Crossley, Consultant assisting (Umwelt).

The VPAWP is at a stage where there is agreement on the wording of the Memorandum of Understanding, a Framework for Voluntary Planning Agreement Negotiations, a Roads Infrastructure Impact Calculator, a Timeframe Schematic from start to finish with a “stop the clock” mechanism if issues arise. The finalisation of a Social Impacts Calculator is still about 80% agreed to and an umpire process is also to be finalised.

The VPAWP has also considered the DPE Deputy Secretary’s VPA Draft Practice Note and Draft Ministerial Direction Papers (referred to below) when considering the content of the VPA format. AMRC has the support of the Minister and Senior Staff of DPE with our position and have put $10,000 into assisting with the cost of the Consultant.

Another meeting has been set down for 30th January 2017 to hopefully finalise the project.

Our Other Matters of Interest

No doubt at your respective Councils you are inundated with information from LGNSW, Office of Local Government, Department of Planning and Environment, other government and non government industry organisations, etc and items relevant to you as a delegate to AMRC may have been missed, so rather than send a mass of emails as these matters arise they will be placed in the monthly ewsletter and forwarded in a package for you to read and assimilate the information.

If any queries you can ask your General Manager and/or Director Planning and Environmental staff at your council for clarification on any of them. So I will list what has come to our attention in recent times as follows, (there may be others):-

  • Revised Community Consultative Committee Guidelines from DPE (November 2016) that will apply to all committees, see their website planning.nsw.gov.au for them;
  • DPE Compliance Report (October 2016) on all major mining projects in NSW, refer to planning.nsw.gov.au/major projects, includes infrastructure, mines, quarries and industry – worth a read to see how the regulatory process operates in NSW;
  • The Australia Institute held a forum in Narrabri on 29th November 2016 (that the Executive Officer attended) on The Economic Impacts of CSG: How will it affect you? The data provided was based on the impacts of CSG in QLD and case studies were provided by a businessman and President of the Chamber of Commerce from Miles in Qld and an academic economist. Delegates can email Mark Ogge from the Australia Institute for the relevant research papers by emailing to:- mark@tai.org.au The Executive Officer has a copy of the paper referred to at the presentation, if interested is more information on this forum;
  • The DPE is holding a series of information sessions in regional communities to explain the Draft Guidelines on Social Impact Assessments for State Significant Mining, Petroleum Production and Extractive Industry Developments. Details are on planning.nsw.gov.au website. Dates and locations for workshops are Mudgee 30th January 2107, Singleton 31st January 2017, Gunnedah 6th February 2017 and Wollongong 8th February 2017. Submissions are due by 3rd March 2017 by Councils;
  • The Western Research Institute, Bathurst has recently announced a new Inland Research Fund 9December 2016), to support high quality policy research that will assist inland communities and promote investment in inland economies (including mining) and requested AMRC forward this information to delegates. Contact is Dale Curran or Chair Mark Burdack and details are on their website at wri.org.au;
  • NSW Farmers has launched its Landholder Guide to Mining and CSG in NSW (December 2016), which is a comprehensive resource designed to be a one stop shop for farmers. The Guide provides an up to date outline of legislation and information about mining and coal seam gas activity. It is designed to show farmers where to start with extractive industries, breaks down jargon and aimed to improve farmers awareness and improve their capacity to negotiate land access arrangements. The Guide can be accessed from miningandcsginfo.org/landholder-guide from NSW Farmers website or farmers can get a free copy posted to them by calling NSW Farmers on 1300 794 000;
  • In north western NSW newspapers in November 2017, (Northern Daily Leader and Namoi Valley Independent) there has been a lot of commentary on independent audits being conducted by Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the results are being reviewed but have high lighted concerns about air qualty in the Namoi Valley coal mining areas and are calling on the NSW state government to investigate the situation;
  • In December 2017, the NSW Environment Minister was quoted in the aforementioned newspapers that his department will look at the Namoi Valley air quality and dust issues as part of a state wide approach under the Clean Air for NSW Plan. The Plan will look at air quality monitoring data and processes in Namoi Valley and if needed will look at replicating what they have done to address it in the Hunter Valley. This is where the Environment Protection Authority monitors air pollution around the area’s mines. The Plan should be finished in 2017, refer their website for more details on this;
  • Many articles during November and December in most newspapers in NSW have been circulating about Santos and the Coal Seam Gas issues at Wilga Park in the Pilliga Forest, their expansion program, reactions from environmentalists and residents about the potential for gas leaks, impacts, royalties, etc. Further details on controls and these relevant matters are outlined on the Division of Resources and Energy website, newspapers and environmental group webpages.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Message from the Chair

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the AMRC, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all and your families the very best for Christmas and hope you all have a very healthy, safe and productive New Year.

We look forward to working with you during 2017 to make the Association a more responsive and effective advocate for our respective communities.

Contact

If you have any queries in relation to this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact myself or the Executive Officer to see how we can assist you in your busy role as a Council delegate to the Association of Mining Related Councils.Our contacts are:-

Chair, Clr Peter Shinton, by email peter.shinton@warrumbungle.nsw.gov.au or phone at Council on 02 68492000.

Executive Officer, Greg Lamont, by email greg@yourexecutiveservice.com.au or info@miningrelatedcouncils.asn.au or phone on 0407937636

Greg Lamont                                                                                      Clr Peter Shinton

Executive Officer                                                                               Chair

Mining related councils keep leadership team

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) Annual General Meeting was hosted by Cabonne Shire Council in central west NSW on Friday, with the leadership team re-elected unopposed. Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton reflected on a highly productive year, which featured direct communication with relevant Ministers and Shadow Ministers (at the Association’s quarterly meetings).

“As the peak body representing mining affected councils in NSW, the AMRC has achieved the advocacy influence it deserves and has been addressing critical issues that can overwhelm a council in isolation,” said Chair Shinton. Chairing these meetings can be challenging but progress for our communities is rewarding.”

The Association of Mining Related Councils tour group, in front of the Cadia Valley Operations gold mine tailings dam.

“Member councils can vary greatly in their views on mining. We are about getting the best outcomes for our communities. A constructive approach has been recognised as the best way forward,” he said.

Councils from Wollongong to Narrabri were represented by councillors and senior staff for the AGM and quarterly meeting. Cr. Chris Connor is Deputy Mayor of Wollongong City Council, representing Local Government Areas affected by coal mining, while the other Deputy Chair is Cr. Lilliane Brady OAM, Mayor of Cobar Shire Council, who represents metalliferous mining areas. Meanwhile, Executive positions are held by Cr. John Martin OAM (Singleton Council), Gunnedah Shire Mayor Owen Hasler and Cr. Sharon Wilcox (Cabonne Shire Council).

The meeting looked at such issues as roads, Voluntary Planning Agreements and strategic planning for 2016 to ensure recent levels of Ministerial communication continue.

Delegates at the AMRC meeting were taken on a guided tour of the Newcrest Cadia Valley Operations gold mine prior to the meeting. One of the largest gold mines in the southern hemisphere, Cadia proudly undertakes numerous community engagement and support initiatives. “Like what we saw in the Northparkes Mine and in our visit to the Bland Shire, Cadia has worked to develop genuine relationships with Cabonne and Blayney Shire Councils,” said Chair Shinton. “We drove through an intersection on our way to the Cadia mine site which Cabonne Shire Council AMRC delegate Cr. Sharon Wilcox explained was identified as an accident black spot; that intersection has just seen responsive action from the Cadia mine, in association with the council.”

Delighted to host the AMRC meeting, Cabonne Shire Mayor Cr Ian Gosper described the Cadia mine as a good corporate citizen. “A group of landholders meet regularly with the Cadia Valley Operations team. We have council representation on that committee. Cadia supports the community and funds a lot of infrastructure in the area.”

Newcrest Cadia Valley Operations gold mine Approvals Manager Andrew Wannan, Association of Mining Related Councils’ Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Cabonne Shire Council AMRC Executive Member, Cr. Sharon Wilcox.

In February 2016, the AMRC was given a presentation by Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw, outlining what her report “Economic, social & community impacts of Newcrest Mining Limited, Cadia Valley Operations” entailed, together with the outcomes and conclusions from it. The in-depth study saw the mining operation identify needs and voluntarily make additional investments into the local community.”

According to Chair Shinton, there is much to learn from the Cadia story. “There are cases where mining operations are positive stories and all involved are doing there upmost to do the right thing. Cadia was prepared to invest in research and academic expertise to analyse socio-economic impacts, like the AMRC has with its Panel of Experts,” continued Chair Shinton. “We also heard of extensive environmental monitoring and thorough rehabilitation plans. I would hope that other mines and the State Government could learn from the positive stories, as well as the negatives.”

Download media release: Mining related councils keep leadership team (pdf)

Resources for Regions commitments applauded

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) has applauded a commitment delivered in person by the Hon. John Barilaro, NSW Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business, that the contentious Resources for Regions funding program is being reviewed and there is a deadline for the process.

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Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, the Hon. John Barilaro, NSW Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business and AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

Once eligible for the program, mining affected Councils can apply for multi-million dollar grants that capacity-build for regional development and provide additional aid to Councils where mining impacts on local infrastructure are a financial burden.

“I heard from the Association of Mining Related Councils some of the issues and concerns around the Resources for Regions criteria. So, I’ll be taking that input on board,” said Minister Barilaro. “We have made a commitment that we are working through the criteria and that we have an appropriate budget allocation.”

“We have also committed that before Christmas of this year, we will be releasing the new Resources for Regions program; what it will look like and outline the process going forward.”

After addressing the Association, the Minister took part in a frank Q&A session, which ranged from mining impacts to the cutbacks and restructure of TAFE, with grave concerns raised from the Bland Shire.

“It is always good to contribute to a forum and meet with stakeholders who are passionate about their communities. This Association does exactly that; it brings everybody together in relation to key mining related issues, be they from industry or the skills portfolio, in my capacity as Minister,” he said. “As a collective they were able to convey to me some of the issues and impediments where communities have been affected by mining. We recognise the need for those communities to maximise their benefits from that particular industry.”

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton was delighted to hear the Minister’s Resources for Regions commitments. “We are very happy to hear that new criteria will be released before Christmas,” he said. “We applaud the Minister’s foreshadowing of the broadening of the criteria. A number of AMRC member Councils, such as Gunnedah, have been greatly frustrated by repeated failure to meet narrow, flawed, ever-changing criteria.”

“Minister Barilaro also commented on how he has not been happy about how other State Government Departments were using the Resources for Regions fund to top up their own budgets, when Councils and other people in the regions have other ideas. That was extremely refreshing to hear because it is something that the Association has been complaining about to various Ministers in recent years,” he said.

“In one of the first Resources for Regions funding grants, a hospital emergency unit refurbishment clearly should have been funded by the appropriate Department or Treasury, not Resources for Regions.”

While commending the NSW Government for consulting with the Association and committing to improve Resources for Regions, Cr. Shinton said there has been at least four generations of the program in a short period of time, with inconsistency and shifting goal posts among the big criticisms. “Towards continuity, it’s about time that we had a Minister who stays in the position for longer than a matter of months. Once a Minister is ensconced in a portfolio and gets a good feel for it, I think they should be left there – that would make a big difference.”

Download media release: Resources for Regions commitments applauded (pdf)

Mining related councils get expertise equipped

Local Government representatives from throughout NSW converged on the State Government’s Country Embassy in the heart of Sydney’s CBD late last week for what was considered a highly productive Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) meeting. The Hon. John Barilaro, NSW Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills, and Minister for Small Business, as well as the Hon. Rob Stokes, Minister for Planning both attended the meeting.

Cabonne Shire Association of Mining Related Councils delegates, Heather Nicholls and Cr Sharon Wilcox, with Chair Cr Peter Shinton (right), consider a point being made by AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

Cabonne Shire Association of Mining Related Councils delegates, Heather Nicholls and Cr Sharon Wilcox, with Chair Cr Peter Shinton (right), consider a point being made by AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

Council delegates appreciated the opportunity to hear presentations from and asked questions of the two Ministers. It was a two-way street. The delegates heard the latest policy developments and also told the Ministers of issues they are facing, at the coal-face of mining impacts.

Delegates were informed of how, in line with the Association’s strategic plan to equip member councils with know-how resourcing, they now have access to a high-level expert panel of consultants. The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton explained what the initiative has involved. “We advertised for an ‘Expert Panel’ and were pleased to see 43 expressions of interest. They were extremely diverse in size, location and specialisations. Our Executive members interviewed the shortlisted six to select our final four.”

Issues focused at the recent meeting... Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Deputy Chair Cr. Chris Connor and Executive Member Cr. John Martin.

Issues focused at the recent meeting… Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Deputy Chair Cr. Chris Connor and Executive Member Cr. John Martin.

“This panel will be used whenever the Association or member Councils need expert advice on issues in areas such as planning, environmental assessment, water quality and Aboriginal heritage.” The Warrumbungle Shire Mayor knows from experience how formidable mining related issues and paperwork can be. “When our Council had to assess the application for the Cobbora Coal mine project, it was a massive amount of work and our council’s staff were not experts, with the capacity to challenge the environmental assessment.”

“One of the firms which we selected for empanelment actually offered to put some of their senior people into a council that engages them, to help up-skill the council’s planners. A lot of the environmental assessment material that comes through is considerable in quantity and complexity. You cannot expect council staff to always have the expertise to address every issue, particularly where mining related matters are concerned.”
In the recent past, the Association has produced issues papers in relation to Coal Seam Gas, coal mining and Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPAs). Wollongong City Council’s Special Projects Manager spent a great deal of time on the issue of VPAs for the Association. Our new Expert Panel will see us better equipped to achieve optimal outcomes, without being a drain on Council members’ resources.

Ready access to the independent expert consultancies on our panel will greatly bolster the collective expertise of Local Councils within the Association of Mining Related Councils. “The Expert Panel” is the latest constructive outcome that the AMRC has delivered, beyond advocating, as the peak Local Government representative body in NSW on mining impacts,” Cr. Shinton said.

Cabonne Shire Council (in the State’s Central west) will host the Association’s next meeting, which is to be held on Friday 13 November, 2015.

Download Media Release: Mining related councils get expertise equipped (pdf)

Planning to get mining affected communities a better deal

When a new mining operation is established, a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) can be negotiated between a local council and a mine operator, which can see the mining company contribute millions of dollars annually towards the council’s infrastructure costs. The negotiation process has been a daunting, unstructured challenge for the regional councils of NSW. That is set to change; the Association of Mining Related Councils has been working with the Department of Planning and Environment to help councils to get a better deal for their communities by documenting comprehensive guidelines for the process.

AMRC Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Senior NSW Department of Planning and Environment Staff Alison Frame and Meagan Kanaley, with AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

AMRC Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Senior NSW Department of Planning and Environment Staff Alison Frame and Meagan Kanaley, with AMRC CEO Don Tydd.

The draft Planning Agreement Guidelines for State Significant Mining Projects will be issued in the near future for public comment. “The State Government welcomes and appreciates the input from groups such as the Association of Mining Related Councils to date,” Deputy Secretary – Policy and Strategy at the Department, Alison Frame said.
“The guidelines will outline best practice principles and help to build an understanding about the negotiation process in the context of mining assessment. In particular, the guidelines will assist councils and industry in understanding the steps involved in negotiating a planning agreement.”

State and Local Governments consider Planning Agreements to be an integral part of the planning system in NSW and an important tool in mitigating community concerns about the impacts of a development. “Planning agreements provide a way for councils and mining companies to negotiate flexible outcomes in respect of development contributions.

Because of this, planning agreements can, in certain situations, deliver better outcomes for both mining companies and the community through the delivery of public benefit,” Ms Frame said.

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton said that negotiating VPAs has been overwhelming for many small, regional councils in the past and it will be a positive step forward when they do not have to reinvent the wheel, if approaching the Planning Agreement process for the first time. “This is
something we lobbied the NSW Government to do and we commend them for building this framework with genuine consultation.”

“With no structure existing, a VPA was difficult to negotiate and delivered uncertain outcomes. If you were lucky you got a good one, if you weren’t, you didn’t. In the Warrumbungle Shire, we worked towards a VPA with a mine that has now been mothballed. We certainly could have done better. I am confident that the new guidelines will facilitate the best possible outcomes from Planning Agreements into the future.”

“These VPAs can be multi-million dollar deals and a council needs to factor in all they can in regards to the impacts the mining operations and the people the mine brings in will have.”

“The planners in the Department now have consulted with us and come back with a first-draft. I was amazed with what they have achieved.”

“Normally, once a VPA has been struck, it is for the life of the mine,” said Cr. Shinton. “You also need to plan for economic and social impacts of a mine closure. If workers have lived in the area for 20-25 years and they disappear suddenly, you’ve got a raft of challenges to deal with, like a big drop in real estate values, which also reduces a council’s revenue,” Cr. Shinton said.

Senior Planning NSW staff updated the Association on their guidelines for Planning Agreements at its last meeting in Quirindi. The next meeting, on Thursday 13 August, in Sydney, will be addressed by NSW Planning Minister, the Hon. Rob Stokes.

For further information, contact AMRC Chair (and Warrumbungle Shire Mayor) Cr Peter Shinton: 0428 255 420 Or Chief Executive Officer, Don Tydd: 02 6775 3844 or 0418 681 320.

Download Media Release: Planning to get mining affected communities a better deal (pdf)

Mining related councils hit hot topics in Liverpool Plains

When the Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) met in Quirindi recently, delegates from member councils around the State took the opportunity to tour contentious sites in the Liverpool Plains Shire. They visited the site of the proposed BHP Billiton Caroona coal mine, which farmers claim would impact on water in one of Australia’s richest agricultural districts. They also visited Whitehaven’s Werris Creek Coal mine, where the principal concern has been reverberations of blasting in nearby Werris Creek. The following day saw a productive meeting, with numerous issues address.

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BHP Billiton Snr Manager, Corporate Affairs Andrew Garrett, Association of Mining Related Councils’ CEO Don Tydd and Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, with BHP Billiton Caroona Coal Project Manager Mick Lovely, in front of the ridge where the proposed controversial Caroona coal mine would be established.

“This was a good opportunity for us to network with other councils with mining operations right on their doorstep,” said Liverpool Plains Shire Mayor Cr Andrew Hope. “We have many mining royalties and infrastructure issues, which we need this Association to represent our concerns straight to the State Government,” he said. “I’ve seen us make headway through mining debates.”

The Association Chair, Mayor of Warrumbungle Shire Council, Cr Peter Shinton said that IPART (the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) will be conducting a comprehensive review of local government rating legislation. “The Association will be asking IPART to ensure its terms of reference encompass the rating of mine operations. We saw this issue have a major financial impact on Broken Hill Shire Council,” he said.

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AMRC Chair Peter Shinton, Werris Creek Coal Mine Manager Jeremy Taylor and AMRC CEO Don Tydd, with the open-cut mine below them.

Following a motion by Narrabri Shire Council delegate Cr. Catherine Collyer, the Association moved to lobby the NSW Government to honour its pre-election promise relating to dust monitoring at the large-scale Maules Creek mine development. Gunnedah Shire Mayor Owen Hassler reiterated Cr. Collyer’s statement that people need to be able to have more trust and faith in their Governments, adding that NSW needs to be proactive, not reactive when it comes to dust. “

AMRC members were updated on their progress in building an information database and panel resource. Association CEO Don Tydd told the meeting that responses had come in from 43 consultancies, from small to multi-national. “There is days of reading in the responses. The extent of the interest we received speaks volumes about the knowledge base relating to mining impacts and the growing standing of this Association,” he said. Chair Peter Shinton said that the Association has called for action on Voluntary Planning Agreements and was delighted to see two senior staff from Planning NSW give a presentation on a position paper concerning Planning Agreements at the meeting. “These agreements can involve ongoing multi-million dollar deals between a mine and local government towards redressing infrastructure impacts. It is fantastic that Planning NSW took our input on board, toward producing guidelines that will help councils negotiating these deals in regards to new mines, in the future.”

Download Media Release: Mining related councils hit hot topics in Liverpool Plains (pdf).

NSW Mining affected councils continue Government inquiry call

The Association of Mining Related Councils (AMRC) has continued its pre-election appeal to the NSW Government for an in-depth mining impact analysis. Association Chair and Warrumbungle Shire Mayor Peter Shinton said that it is time that Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon. Anthony Roberts got genuinely resourced with grassroots mining impacts knowledge and stopped being reactionary with mining related policies.

Blayney Shire Council General Manager Rebecca Ryan and Mayor Scott Ferguson, Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw with her Cadia mine impacts report in hand, Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Cabonne Shire Councillor Sharon Wilcox and CEO of the Association Don Tydd.

Blayney Shire Council General Manager Rebecca Ryan and Mayor Scott Ferguson, Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw with her Cadia mine impacts report in hand, Association of Mining Related Councils Chair Cr. Peter Shinton, Cabonne Shire Councillor Sharon Wilcox and CEO of the Association Don Tydd.

“We have seen the benefits of a holistic inquiry into infrastructure and social impacts mining has on a community through a study undertaken by the Western Research Institute for Newcrest Mining Limited, Cadia Valley Operations. This comprehensive study looked at both mining impacts and the implications for the regional city of Orange and other nearby centres, if the Cadia gold mine was to shut down. Just as councils deserve a better return from the mining royalties the State Government extracts from their areas, they should also have all the information possible to best manage mining impacts, including the massive adjustments that come with a mine closure,” Cr. Shinton said.

“Any council would benefit from this level of awareness, particularly when negotiating Voluntary Planning Agreements (VPA’s). We need the NSW Government to lay the foundations for local studies, with a comprehensive inquiry.”

“Mining communities need to keep monitoring their health, strengths, weaknesses and changes that occur in the community and its economy, as the result of mining. This can be done with a large study like what was done for Cadia but there can also be advantages from regular monitoring on a smaller scale, following solid foundation analysis. Ongoing engagement with the local business community, service providers, people involved in the housing sector can also be important in both gauging and informing about mining impacts. This regular monitoring and community liaison can help local councils and mining operations to be aware of mining impacts and ensure the best possible means of addressing them are in place,” said Western Research Institute CEO Danielle Ranshaw.

In a presentation to the Association of Mining Related Councils, Ms Ranshaw outlined what the report “Economic, social & community impacts of Cadia Valley operations” entailed, together with the outcomes and conclusions from it. The in-depth study saw the mining operation identify needs and voluntarily make additional investments into the local community.” A mining company can only benefit from comprehensive awareness and community engagement. Just like governments, if mine operators understand their impacts they can tailor or implement strategies to ensure the community thrives whilst the mine is there and post-mining.”

Cr Shinton said that the Cadia study at Orange set an excellent benchmark and applauded the mining operation for commissioning it. “The benefits of this kind of study are clear. We cannot expect such an initiative to be undertaken by all mine operators across NSW and councils do not have the resources – the State Government does and it is time we saw long, as well as short-term mining policy underpinned by real consultation, investigation and analysis.”

Download Media Release – NSW Mining affected councils continue Government inquiry call (pdf)