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Cultural alliance nurtures optimism

Monday, 29th August, 2011

DRILLING DOWN: Harry Adams and wife Julie see a bright partnership ahead for BH and fellow mining city Riotinto in Spain. DRILLING DOWN: Harry Adams and wife Julie see a bright partnership ahead for BH and fellow mining city Riotinto in Spain.

By John Casey

The cultural alliance between Broken Hill and famous Spanish mining region Minas de Riotinto is developing some “exciting ideas for the future” which will be unveiled during the next 12 months.

Spanish-based EMED Mining Managing Director Harry Adams said he was proud and pleased with the development of the new enterprise, which his company is sponsoring and promoting.

While in the city with his wife Julie for a series of briefings on the future of the Cultural Alliance, Mr Adams said the concept had been readily embraced by all parties.

“We are already realising the benefits of having these two iconic mining cities which spawned two great mining companies (BHP and Rio Tinto) aligned culturally and the future looks promising,” he said.

“We have quickly established friendships and opportunities based on common values.

“Mining people are the same the world over and the parallels will allow us to develop some major projects together in 2012.”

Among the initiatives being looked at for the future is a visit by the Mayor of Riotinto in October to coincide with an exhibition here of work from world-renowned Spanish artist Francisco Goya.

An exhibition of paintings by local artist Eric McCormick of scenes from the Riotinto region which, through the Cultural Alliance, he visited in December, will accompany the Goya exhibition.

But while the Cultural Alliance has so far concentrated on artistic collaborations other projects are being developed, illustrated by the recent sponsorship of the Goanna Outback Scramble golf tournament.

A project to mirror what BH has achieved with the Sculpture Symposium (which has a Spanish influence) is also being considered.

“This alliance concept was simply an idea just 18 months ago and we are still in the early stages with a lot to look forward to,” Mr Adams said.

“I get excited about some of the ideas being discussed almost daily ... we have so much to learn from one another and can help each other in many ways.”

Mrs Adams said she had been “very impressed” with BH as a city and enjoyed the friendship and spirit of the local people.

“Broken Hill has a spirit that doesn’t rely solely on mining and we need to import that so it permeates through Riotinto as well,” Mrs Adams said.

With a 50 per cent unemployment rate in the Minas de Riotinto region - which encompasses seven towns with a total population nudging 25,000 - BH’s resilience represents a beacon of hope.

“We are suffering a major depression at the moment after the collapse of the mining industry there 10 years ago but a pulse is re-emerging and the alliance with Broken Hill can nurture that,” Mr Adams said.

“We are looking to re-open the Riotinto mine next year and the bond we are building with Broken Hill is another cause for optimism.”

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