Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek Coal Mine employs 80 Aboriginal staff as part of its Indigenous equal opportunity employment program.
These employees are both male and female and are engaged to carry out a wide variety of roles within the mine.
The company said additional trainees have been recruited and will be starting in July.
Some of these roles include operating heavy machinery, including 800 tonne excavators and 500 tonne dump trucks, water carts, graders and dozers – to being part of the office-based Technical Services Team.
Paul Sampson is an Aboriginal employee from the local area who started working for Whitehaven as an operator in September 2016.
Mr Sampson said he enjoys working at the Maules Creek Coal Mine and receives excellent training and support to carry out his role as an operator of heavy equipment.
“I have been here in this role for the last six months and since then have progressed from the smaller 300 tonne trucks to the larger 500 tonne trucks which have a payload of around 320 tonnes,” Mr Sampson said.
“I get loads of experience and support and the people are great to work with.”
Mr Sampson came to Maules Creek Coal Mine from a drilling background, having previously worked for another local company Mannion Drilling in Gunnedah.
Whitehaven Coal Aboriginal Community Relations Officer Bob Sutherland said it was great to see “a big take up of opportunities” by Aboriginal people at Maules Creek Coal Mine.
“These employees are valued and supported in their roles to develop into highly skilled operators of very large machinery,” Mr Sutherland said.
Maules Creek Coal Mine general manager Peter Wilkinson said the company is proud of its Indigenous employment program at Maules Creek.
“It was recognised by the NSW Minerals Council as ‘best in class’ within the industry, and was included as a case study in the Prime Minister’s Closing the Gap report for 2017,” Mr Wilkinson said.
Maules Creek Coal also sponsors on average at least one Aboriginal apprentice in trades such as Electrotechnology Electrician and Mobile Plant Technology per year.
Whitehaven said many find work within the company or other local employers once they have completed their apprenticeship.
Maules Creek Coal Mine currently sponsors three local Aboriginal apprentices who work in Whitehaven Coal mines including Maules Creek.
Maules Creek Coal Mine is an open-cut coal mine owned and operated by Whitehaven Coal, located in the Gunnedah basin.