“I think one of the greatest benefits that has come out of the dialogue so far has been that we’ve all learnt a huge amount from each other and every time we meet, I come away thinking ‘gee, I didn’t know that before.’”
Dr John Drinan, a retired agricultural scientist and cattle farmer and now member of the Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group, speaks candidly in the second of our three video series about the journey of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue, a unique effort between the mining industry and community.
“I think the major challenge for the dialogue is to get it better known in our community. The second major challenge I think, is to actually demonstrate improvements on the ground.”
And that’s a view largely shared by Troy Favell from Peabody Energy’s Wambo Coal near Singleton.
“What we need to do better is communicate our successes to the wider community. We’ve got a core of representative community members from the valley that attend the meetings and that are very knowledgeable about what’s going on in the industry and I think it’s our challenge now to broaden that group and get the message out.”
Dr Drinan singles out the project that uses three to four day forecasts to plan ahead their operations and limit emissions from mines as having “enormous benefit” for reducing dust particles in the air as well as its potential as a community information tool.
John Richards, Managing Director of the Bloomfield Group, finds the air quality monitoring network to show great promise for the community too.