Prominent Hill, as our main operating site, has our most extensive community engagement program.
Prominent Hill is located in a very isolated area of northern South Australia. The mine is 130 kilometres away from the opal mining town Coober Pedy, with pastoralists being our closest neighbours.
We regularly engage with the pastoralist community, particularly in regard to water use. For more information on this, refer to water management in the environment section of this report.
Representatives from the Prominent Hill community relations team present to the Coober Pedy Council each quarter and regularly meet with the Coober Pedy Area School.
In 2011 OZ Minerals ran its annual community consultation meeting at William Creek, a small town approximately 110 kilometres from the Prominent Hill mine site. Attendees include local pastoralists, local community and other relevant government and non-government representatives. These meetings give the attendees an opportunity to discuss areas of concern and common interest, and provide an opportunity for OZ Minerals to provide the community with an update on the Prominent Hill operation and exploration activities. The main topics this year included information on the new Ankata underground mine, environmental projects and water.
OZ Minerals is an active participant in two of the South Australian Arid Lands and Natural Resources Board district groups. The Board, working in partnership with local landholders, industry, government agencies and environmental and community interest groups, aims to facilitate an integrated approach to sustainable management of natural resources.
Our Prominent Hill mine site is on the traditional lands of the Antakarinja indigenous community. We regularly meet with representatives of this group in relation to the OZ Minerals funded Antakarinja Scholarship Disembursement Fund. This fund is ongoing and is open twice a year to students for funds to assist them with their studies. Typically, funds are used to purchase books, laptops, uniforms, fees and for other educational expenses.
In late 2011, a comprehensive community survey of a diverse range of stakeholders was conducted by The University of Adelaide. The broad themes of the survey were current issues and trends in stakeholders’ communities, perceptions of mining, perceptions of OZ Minerals, the socio-economic impacts of OZ Minerals’ operations and the socio-economic impacts of Prominent Hill completion and decommission. The presence of OZ Minerals was described by several stakeholders as having ‘reinvigorated’ local business and creating welcome opportunities for local businesses to supply goods. The survey results have identified potential ways in which OZ Minerals can strengthen our relationship with local communities, and will influence community engagement plans, sponsorship guidelines and project priorities.
As the Carrapateena exploration program develops, we are increasingly engaging with the local community. As part of our exploration activities at Carrapateena, OZ Minerals representatives have built relationships with local indigenous owners, as well as meeting formally with local mayors and business leaders. Presentations were also made to the Whyalla Mining Forum and the Economic Development Forum held in Quorn. Informal meetings with the local community are ongoing.
In 2011, there were no community incidences reported.
Coober Pedy Area School Seedling Program
OZ Minerals is working with Coober Pedy Area School to trial a new seedling program partnership. OZ Minerals has donated 100 indigenous seedling plants, a greenhouse and some pot stands to Coober Pedy Area School as the basic ingredients to a new enterprise business.
The seedlings are grown and cared for by students. Once the seedlings reach maturity, the students are then able to sell the plants, either to OZ Minerals for our rehabilitation program or to other interested parties. The program aims to encourage students to develop a small sustainable business.
The program will enhance Coober Pedy Area School’s curriculum in areas, including environment, social, business development and health and safety. The program will give students practical experience in managing and running a business. They will need to develop business plans, marketing and communication plans, health and safety assessments, as well as financial management skills. OZ Minerals will provide support throughout the process.
In 2012, OZ Minerals will be donating a further 100 seedlings to Coober Pedy Area School.
Mining Technicians course
The Prominent Hill Mining Technicians course is an extension to our successful Pre-employment Training Program and was developed to bring local indigenous and non-indigenous people to the workforce at a more senior level. In 2011, all ten participants graduated with a Certificate II in Surface Extraction and are now working in various roles at Prominent Hill. During the next 18 months the trainees will go on to complete a Certificate III in their chosen field. The program is run in conjunction with TAFE South Australia.
Since the launch of the Pre-Employment Program in 2006, seven groups of trainees, including 59 successful graduates, have successfully completed the program and taken up roles at Prominent Hill. The graduates come from the local towns of Coober Pedy, Port Augusta, Oodnadatta, Port Pirie and the APY Lands.
In 2012, the Pre-Employment Program will target people in Cooper Pedy and Oodnadatta.