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Top 10 articles of 2015


As another huge year in the mining and resources industry comes to an end, we have compiled a list of the 10 most popular stories of 2015.


10. Court overturns approval of Adani’s megamine

The Federal Government’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland was overturned in the Federal Court of Australia in August.

Environmental Legal Centre EDO NSW, representing the Mackay Conservation Group, challenged the approval given by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to the $16.5 billion project.

“The decision of the Court to set aside the Carmichael mine’s federal approval was based on a failure by the Minister to have regard to conservation advices for two Federally-listed vulnerable species, the Yakka Skink and Ornamental Snake. This kind of error in the decision making process is legally fatal to the Minister’s decision,” EDO NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said, according to a report by EDO.

9. Another blow for Blackwater mine as permanent staff cut

Blackwater was delivered yet another slap in the face after BHP BMA announced their intention to replace nearly half of its permanent workforce with contractors at its Central Queensland mine in August.

According to a company notice to employees, more than 300 local jobs would be directly affected by the decision.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District President Steve Smyth said this behaviour by the mining giant was a disgrace and would seriously damage the community in Blackwater.

8. Old Queensland mines given new life

Mount Morgan Gold MineNew leases of life could be given to more historic Queensland mines following an agreement to remediate the Mount Morgan mine in Central Queensland and extract existing resources.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche welcomed the announcement in October by Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham of a new agreement with mine remediation experts and QRC member Carbine Resources for water treatment at the 130-plus-year-old mine.

The former Mount Morgan Mine operated from 1882 until 1990, producing copper and gold and at one stage was the largest gold mine in the world.

7. Worker killed in vehicle rollover at Blackwater mine

A worker at BMA’s Blackwater Mine was killed in a vehicle rollover incident this morning, involving a raptor transporter on March 12.

Blackwater and Emerald police arrived on site and investigated the incident, which is believed to have happened about 7.30am.

01-gas-boom6. How to prepare for the next gas boom

Despite the recent drop in commodity prices, there is plenty of opportunity looming for the gas sector. Our correspondent Richard Szabo spoke with experts about what opportunities are available are what companies can do now to prepare for the next boom cycle.



5. Blair Athol coal mine new owner

The Blair Athol Coal Mine, near Clermont, announced a new owner after Linc Energy sold it, along with all of their other conventional coal assets, to United Mining Group.

Other assets in the sale include Linc’s Pentland and Dalby development projects, the Teresa development project and all greenfield exploration tenures in the state.

In a statement, United Mining Group’s Managing Director Gary Williams said his company would continue with plans to re-open the Blair Athol mine.

4. Australian mining industry set to bounce back

Australia’s mining downturn was set to drag itself out of the slump and rise once again, according to a report by IBISWorld in June.

Plummeting commodity prices in some of Australia’s largest mining industries – iron ore mining, oil and gas extraction, and black coal mining – caused revenue in the mining division to decline by 10 per cent in 2014-15, to reach $211.8 billion.

IBISWorld senior industry analyst Mr Spencer Little said it is anticipated that “2015-16 will offer a much rosier picture for some of the nation’s largest industries, but black and brown coal mining may struggle to recover”.

3. FIFO suicide prompts call for roster change

A FIFO worker took his own life in June, prompting calls from workers at the Roy Hill project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region to change rosters.

The death was announced on a Facebook page, FIFO Construction Workers 3/1 Forum.

“A worker on the Roy hill project working for Goodline took his own life, all the lads stood down out of respect and to raise awareness of this serious issue running rampant in our industry. We need to change the 4 & 1 roster it’s ruining lives,” the anonymous post said.

Media reports said the victim was identified as Brad Bonehill, who was on RNR with his family when the tragedy occurred.

2. Unions call for action after seven FIFO suicides in NT project

Seven fly-in fly-out workers from the Inpex Ichthys gas project in Darwin have taken their own life in the past three years, leading to Northern Territory trade unions calling for a FIFO code of practice.

FIFOThere have been several parliamentary inquiries looking at mental health in the FIFO industry across Australia, but Unions NT secretary Brian Wilkins said the Northern Territory had largely avoided scrutiny, according to an ABC report in November.

About 8000 people are employed on the Inpex project, with FIFO workers staying at a 3500 bed camp in Darwin.

1. New mine approval to create 3500 jobs in CQ 

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Red Hill Mining project, near Moranbah, will need to make hundreds of jobs available for locals as well as fly-in, fly-out workers under a new independent approval.

The Coordinator General has approved the project in June, which involves construction of a new underground coal mine and expansion of the existing Broadmeadow and Goonyella-Riverside coal mines.

The project then moved into environmental and mining approval processes.


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