National Group honours Australia’s top mine at Prospect Awards

National Group managing director Mark Ackroyd presents the 2019 Mine of the Year Award to Glencore's Chris March and Scott Bannerman,

In what has been a challenging year for the mining industry, an event like the Prospect Awards is more important than ever. Australian Mining speaks with National Group about its involvement.

National Group is the sponsor of the Australian Mine of the Year award, an honour the company supported for the first time in 2019.

The coveted mine of the year title was last year taken out by Glencore’s Mangoola coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP).

Magoola CHPP, which also won the Coal Mine of the Year award, edged out Hard Rock Mine of the Year winner New Century Resources for the top gong.

Australian Mining and National Group are excited to unite the industry to safely celebrate the awards despite the restrictions the industry has faced in 2020.

The 2020 awards have moved to a print campaign due to COVID-19 restrictions, a move that has been supported by its partners and sponsors.

National Group managing director Mark Ackroyd says recognising outstanding achievements across the industry is important during both the good times and the challenging ones.

“It is important to recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations during the best of times and through challenging times,” Ackroyd tells Australian Mining.

“The industry has faced a situation not yet seen in our generation so it is important to consider what work has been done to overcome the current conditions in order to understand the lessons learnt that could be carried forward into the future.

“The Australian Mining Prospect Awards recognises the efforts beyond the call of duty, which could benefit the industry as a whole and help prepare the industry for the next pandemic.”

Mines across Australia have worked through 2020 under altered fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) rosters, stringent hygiene measures, implementing airport and site testing and being flexible in changing its operations according to government regulations.

With so many mining companies striving for successful operations to support the economy while ensuring the health and safety of their workers, families and communities in which they operate, this year’s decision on which site to win Mine of the Year could prove to be one of the most difficult yet.

This, along with the existing criteria for the Hard Rock Mine of the Year and Coal Mine of the Year categories, will be considered, including an uptrend in performance within the last three years from January 1 2017, new projects or initiatives undertaken from January 2019 onward and examples of success of these initiatives.

To account for the unprecedented conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nominations exclude the time period from January 1 2020.

Ackroyd says National Group is proud to sponsor the Mine of the Year award in 2020 to recognise the Australian operation that stands out in its achievements during a year that has presented obstacles included the COVID-19 pandemic and the Australian bushfires.

“We decided to sponsor the Australian Mine of the Year award again this year to recognise the best hard rock and coal mines of the year,” he says.

“This year has posed unique challenges so it seems fitting that we should honour the mine that has stood out from the rest and displayed the most outstanding achievements throughout 2020.”

Much like mining companies across Australia, National Group has also faced challenges to its operations during 2020.

Ackroyd reflects on how the company has handled the unique conditions and continued to achieve growth in what has been a difficult time for all industries across the nation.

“With social distancing and extra precautionary measures required due to the current situation, the National Group has had to react accordingly and implement risk mitigation strategies in order to protect employees and continue business as usual,” Ackroyd says.

“Our semi-autonomous equipment has enabled us to continue to operate with minimal disruptions, so we have been less affected in some instances.

“We are very happy with where we stand in the industry and continue to experience exponential growth, even during the unprecedented challenges faced this year.”

Nominations for the awards have been extended to Tuesday October 6 to allow for the changes.

The 14 categories and their confirmed sponsors for the 2020 Australian Mining Prospect Awards are:

  • Contract Miner of the Year, sponsored by Epiroc
  • Contribution to Mining
  • Safety Advocate of the Year, sponsored by Flexco
  • Indigenous Engagement Award
  • Excellence in Internet of Things Application, sponsored by ifm efactor
  • Hard Rock Mine of the Year, sponsored by Epiroc
  • Coal Mine of the Year, sponsored by SEW-Eurodrive
  • Excellence in Environmental Management, sponsored by Metso Outotec
  • Excellence in Mine Safety, Occupational Health & Safety, sponsored by Schenck Process
  • Minerals Processing of the Year, sponsored bY CDE
  • Innovative Mining Solution, sponsored by Austmine
  • Mine Manager of the Year, sponsored by CRC
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Liebherr
  • Australian Mine of the Year, sponsored by National Group

This feature also appears in the October edition of Australian Mining.

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