THE importance of reconnecting with the community was one of the key messages to come from a major coalmining conference in Singleton this week, according to the town’s chamber of commerce and industry president Tony Charlesworth.
The $3000-a-head, two-day Hunter Coal Developments Conference at the civic centre attracted 70 participants from a variety of businesses.
Speakers included New South Wales Minerals Council chief Stephen Galilee, Newcastle University’s Tom Farrell Institute future industries project manager Gary Ellem and several coal and rail company leaders.
The conference was the first organised in Singleton by the Australian Journal of Mining, the chamber of commerce and Singleton Council.
Mining journal spokesman Richard Beattie said the conference aimed to facilitate discussion between representatives of the coal industry, business suppliers and the community on the future of coal in the Upper Hunter and issues that needed attention, such as trade skill shortages, accommodation availability and traffic congestion.
Mr Charlesworth said: “The conference looked at facts, rather than rumours.
“The mines are part of our everyday life and while coal prices are presenting some challenges at present, prospects for the industry in the long-term are bright.
“But the key messages I’ve heard are about reconnecting with the community and collaboration and sharing ideas, with the community and among the coal companies.”