In the 1850s, the first of a number of gold discoveries resulted in an immigration rush that trebled the population of Australia in a matter of a few years. The first discoveries were in New South Wales and Victoria, followed by Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. The huge goldfields in Western Australia were discovered in the 1890s and are still operational today.
First Mining Booms Changed Landscapes
This was our first mining boom, but certainly not the last. It brought prosperity, development, and people from all over the world. They brought their skills, cultures and an entrepreneurial spirit that transformed the country. The mining techniques of those days changed the landscapes, not necessarily for the better, but as time passed and the land was re-purposed, mining became one of our most important industries.
Dangerous Mining Practices now in the Past
We have had our share of mining scandals over the years. The mining of blue asbestos at Wittenoom in Western Australia continues to cause deaths from asbestos-related diseases fifty years after the mine closed. Underground coal mining was once very dangerous and more thought was given to getting the coal to market than the safety of the miners.
Mining today is conducted in a very different manner. Government regulations exist to protect the public and the environment against irresponsible and dangerous practices, and there are all kinds of checks and balances in the system before a new mining operation is approved.
Other industries also depend on our mines for their existence, and our company, Reay Services Group, is an excellent example how the mining industry benefits the wider community. We provide drainage infrastructure, supply and install pipelines, do site earthworks as well as rehabilitation projects and a range of other support services.
Benefits of Mining – Economic Flow-on Effects
We also provide direct employment to our own team of specialists, and indirectly to our suppliers and others, as the activity we generate in the region moves through its economy. The flow-on effect boosts trade at local supermarkets, shops and service stations, and in dozens of other ways where we make a positive impact on the local community.
Mining Creates Opportunities for Indigenous Communities
In consultation with the indigenous communities in the areas where we operate, we create opportunities for training and employment for those seeking work. We are also actively supporting the development and growth of small businesses run by indigenous individuals and organisations.
Learn from the Past – Look to the Future
None of this is possible without the presence of mining in these remote areas. We would not be here providing our services which, in turn, stimulate the local economy and create opportunities for other economic and social pursuits. While we acknowledge the mistakes of the past, we also look to a future where mining and all other vested interests can co-exist in harmony and prosperity.