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Miners stick to their digs

Tuesday, 22nd May, 2012

ENTHUSED: Resources and Energy Symposium Managing Director, Kerry Stevenson, opened proceedings with a defiant speech. ENTHUSED: Resources and Energy Symposium Managing Director, Kerry Stevenson, opened proceedings with a defiant speech.

By Erica Visser

The future of Broken Hill’s mining sector was looking strong yesterday when around 500 delegates turned up for day one of the Resources and Energy Symposium in the city.

The annual three-day event is in its second year and the 2012 line-up features keynote speakers such as former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson and NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher.

Symposium Managing Director, Kerry Stevenson, opened the event which she stated was “not just a beauty parade of mining and energy companies.”

“As we sit here today we all know that we are under attack, not just from the Government, but from many sides,” Ms Stevenson told the delegates at the Civic Centre.

“It’s up to us to educate the next generation.”

The mining industry has recently been the target of negative media and a supposed lack of support from the Federal Government. 

The Government’s planned mining tax was expected to be a hot issue at the symposium but has so far been generally avoided by investors and was brushed aside by Commonwealth Bank Chief Economist, Michael Blythe, who said he wished to steer clear of fiery  debate.

Minister Hartcher was unreserved in his support for new State laws allowing uranium exploration during his speech and said he was confident that the region had a lot of the element to offer. 

“There is a very high level of interest in the resources sector in NSW,” Mr Hartcher said.

“One kilogram of uranium equals 50,000 kilowatts of coal...that’s an extraordinary difference and we believe NSW has great potential for uranium.”

The Minister addressed the crowd via video conference and implored the audience to explore the city and surrounding regions such as Silverton. 

Mr Anderson, who is also former chairman of Eastern Star Gas, spoke to the delegates about the links between the agriculture and mining industries.

In speaking on “behalf of farmers”, Mr Anderson said the two most predominant problems linked with the resource sector were “food security” and the “rapid global population growth”.

He said that the Government needed to debate controversial issues as the “more controversial the more important it is that both sides engage in debate”.

Mr Anderson was outspoken in his support of coal seam gas last year when the topic made national headlines over fears that its extraction was dangerous.

City Council General Manager, Frank Zaknich, described the symposium as a boon for the city.

“It’s a significant injection into the local economy over the next four days,” Mr Zaknich said.

“There are some very exciting and pleasing developments happening in the area, particularly those of Carpentaria Exploration and CBH.”

Day two of the symposium begins this morning and will feature topics including the Olympic Dam expansion and natural gas as a resource.

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