Comalco’s bauxite mine at Weipa in Queensland has won the Australian minerals industry’s highest accolade – the 2006 MINEX Award – the National Minerals Industry Safety and Health Excellence Award. At the Awards dinner on October 23, Minerals Council of Australia MCA Chief Executive Mitchell H Hooke said the Australian minerals industry was committed to continuous improvement in achieving its goal of an industry free of fatalities, injury and disease. “We will not rest until we have achieved our goal of zero harm in the workplace and communities in which we operate,” he said.
The industry considers there is no greater stewardship responsibility than the safety and health of its people. “In the past decade the industry has improved out of sight, from having one of the worst industrial safety records in Australia to having one of the best. But there is no salvation for the individual or their loved ones in improved industrial safety statistics if that individual is harmed in the workplace. The MINEX awards are a recognition of the industry’s commitment to excellence in sharing health and safety results and testament to its number one priority of zero harm in the workplace and the communities in which we operate, Hooke said.”
In 2006, the MINEX Awards were realigned to use Enduring Value – the Australian Minerals Industry Framework for Sustainable Development, as their guiding principles for assessment. “Weipa has integrated safety and health into all aspects of its operation,” Hooke said. “Its operations represent a step change in industry leading practice focused on a continuous improvement loop, that is integrated into a long term strategy for the site. Through its leadership, culture and stakeholder awareness, Weipa, across all levels of the operation and community, demonstrates its maturity and passion for safety and health. Its business integrated approach with active and ongoing continuous improvement represents industry leading practice.”
A Highly Commended Award was presented to BMA’s Norwich Park Mine in Queensland. Norwich Park has been mining coal near Dysart in Queensland since 1979. It was recognized for strong leadership and commitment to achieving outstanding safety results and culture throughout its operation, and the consistent and disciplined application of a risk management process for all activities.
The judges also commended Iluka’s Narngulu Processing Plant, near Geraldton in Western Australia for its leadership, which is actively and systematically seeking to achieve a strong safety culture, strengthened by a high level of commitment at all levels of its operation.