SINGLETON Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to facilitate a procurement group to work with mining companies to ensure every local opportunity is not missed.
“This is an opportunity for local businesses to find out where their niche might be in the resource supply chain,” said chamber secretary Gill Eason.
“It is a chance to demystify the supply chain process.”
Any Singleton business interested in getting involved or finding out more is urged to contact the chamber now.
Either use the website at www.singletonchamber.org.au or phone 0400 460 412.
The intention is for the chamber to work with procurement managers at various mines to assist local businesses with the process.
The move is just one of the outcomes of Tuesday’s chamber breakfast at which coal representatives were invited to speak about the opportunities and the coal industry.
Almost 100 people were in attendance, keen to hear from an industry that pours millions of dollars into the economy.
Bloomfield Group managing director John Richards said his firm’s preference was to support locals where it could.
The firm, which employs 120 people at the Rixs Creek mine, bought hydraulic hosing locally, supported local takeaway food shops and used local fencing and environmental consultants.
Bloomfield was also keen to support local projects.
Of note, the expansive tree planting project at Rose Point Park that was not only funded by Bloomfield but miners volunteered and helped with the planting.
Coal and Allied’s Stephen Sneddon and Xstrata Coal’s Craig Strudwick also spoke of the industry’s community contributions.
Mr Strudwick spoke of the increasing collaboration between companies.
“This is unusual when you consider in reality we are in competition with one another,” Mr Strudwick said.
This attitude is reflective of a growing cooperation between companies to address environmental and social issues as well as infrastructure concern, such as traffic and accommodation issues.
NSW Minerals Council’s Sue-Ern Tan said coal was a $20billion dollar industry in New South Wales with a further $4.8 billion in coal projects and developments in the pipeline in the Hunter alone.
The $1.5billion paid by coal companies to the state government in 2012/13 contributed to the employment of 13,000 nurses, 11,000 teachers, 3000 police and paid for 2500 buses and 45km of Pacific Highway duplication.
But like every commodity, coal is subject to market change.
Ms Tan said the industry was now being hit by a triple whammy with falling coal prices, rising production costs and softened demand.
“Coal is not the golden goose that will keep laying the eggs,” she said.
Another issue discussed was the possibility of busing mine employees to work to improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion.