Tuesday, 9th July, 2013
By By Kurtis J Eichler
Broken Hill is in a good position to withstand any downturn in the mining industry because of its mineral diversity, the NSW Minerals Council chief executive says.
Stephen Galilee - who took up the position last year - made Broken Hill the first stop on his 2013 NSW Mining Road and Rail Tour yesterday.
The two-week journey across NSW is a way of getting the CEO out from behind his desk and into mining towns to see first-hand what is happening.
After an early morning visit to the Cristal Processing Plant, Mr Galilee toured the Albert Kersten Mining and Mineral Museum and later the CBH Resources and Perilya operations.
He also held talks with City Council about their strong support of the city’s mines.
The former public servant weighed into the state government’s recently extended ‘Resources to Regions’ scheme, saying it should be extended to make Broken Hill eligible for a slice of the $160 million funding.
“It’s not enough but at least it’s a start, so we need to extend the eligibility criteria so that places like Broken Hill are eligible to apply for that funding,” Mr Galilee said.
“Mining communities in NSW deserve more funding for infrastructure and their services.”
But a ‘Royalties to Regions’ scheme which sees mining royalties put back into the community affected by mining would be a better option, he said.
“That way they are receiving their fair share of the benefits.”
Last year Broken Hill spent $61 million on mining operations and $63 million went back into the local economy, he said.
If the mining boom did bottom out, the diverse range of mining in the region would cushion any blow coming Broken Hill’s way.
“There has been talk recently about the downturn in the mining sector here that back four or five years ago some mines were placed in care and maintenance and some of those mines are coming back on stream.
“Mining is a cyclical industry and as some mines close, others open, and from my examination of the mining industry locally it’s clear that’s what’s happening.
“You’ve got some mines dealing in some commodities downsizing their workforce and then you’ve got other mines like Cristal Processing that are looking to expand.
“I would expect there would always be a mining sector here in Broken Hill and it’s because it’s got a diverse base in terms of the product and commodities that are mined.
“That’s a pretty good insurance policy against fluctuations in one commodity or another.
“It should help cushion the blow if there was a downturn in one particular sector.”
NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee saw the remarkable Silver Tree yesterday at the Albert Kersten Mining and Mineral Museum. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel