NSW Minerals Council recently presented its Mining Industry & Suppliers Awards winners for four categories for 2020 at its annual event, typically held in Sydney, but transformed into a digital live-stream event in response to COVID-19 restrictions. Young entrepreneur and Indigenous business owner Steven Fordham was recognized for his business acumen and his service to the community, providing job opportunities in mining to Aboriginal men as part of their reintegration into the community after custodial sentences. Ellie Hawkins, scheduling engineer, CMOC-Northparkes Mines in central NSW, was named a joint winner in the same category for her success to date.

In recognition of its commitment to changing lives for the better in mining with its “Rockstarter” system as well as innovating to help prepare the health system during the COVID-19 pandemic, Newcastle-based advanced manufacturing and technology business Ampcontrol was named Supplier of the Year.

Ampcontrol took swift action to manufacture additional ventilators to support the healthcare system at the height of the pandemic emergency. CEO Rod Henderson said, “What the last few months have shown through these challenging times is the incredible ingenuity and agility of Australian manufacturing and onshore supply chains.”

He also urged industry and decision-makers to work together as we look to the future. “We have such highly advanced skill and capability in this country, it’s so important that industry and government continue to work together now more than ever for our economic recovery and security,” he added.

John Richards, chairman of the Bloomfield Group and winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Mining award, commended the NSW mining industry’s efforts to protect the health and safety of its workforce during these challenging times.

“The minerals industry’s response to COVID-19 has shown just how highly they value employees,” he said. “It’s a credit to the industry and an opportunity for demonstrating the great careers that are available.”

South32’s lllawarra Metallurgical Coal was named Mining Operation of the Year. The award recognises achievements across its operations, with the business focusing its efforts on operational excellence, making meaningful contributions to local communities and ensuring a long-term future. Illawarra spends around A$160 million a year with more than 400 NSW-based suppliers.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee praised the outstanding finalists and all working in mining across NSW who have risen to the challenge of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first half of 2020 has been tough,” Galilee said. “We’ve endured terrible bushfires off the back of a severe drought, followed by a global health crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our miners have kept operating under strict health and safety protocols, and that has helped protect jobs, support local communities and maintain our contribution to the NSW economy.”