Coal miner looks to town rather than FIFO camps

Stanmore Coal is looking to establish its central Queensland workers in local towns rather than in traditional mining camps.

The miner is offering incentives to its workers to relocate to towns such as Emerald, Blackwater and Comet for its Mackenzie River project, the Central Queensland News reports.

Stanmore managing director Nick Jorss told the paper “I can’t guarantee they will all be in town, but we need to have some sort of essential approach where we look at putting as many people in the town, and support that and assist with housing where we can and incentives for people where we can.”

Housing and fly in fly out (FIFO) mining accommodation is one of the major issues in the Queensland coalfields, where many local communities claim the establishment of FIFO camps leads to “antisocial behaviour and the strains mining camps put on community infrastructure” were a major point.

Isaac region mayor Cedric Marshall explained that there is a massive push for family accommodation over transient worker housing.

A step forward in this push is the creation of a mining communities alliance earlier this week.

Drawing delegates from a number of central Queensland mining communities, the committee was formed to drive a greater integration of mining companies and workers with the local townships, rather than employing transient workers and building FIFO camps outside of towns.

“There’s always going to be a certain amount (of mining camps) but we want to see the majority of families living in our region again,” Marshall said.

Jorss said “We want to enhance the community where we can and not detract from it, that’s our main goal.

“We are very conscious of the fact camps can create issues and are a drag and an impost on communities without necessarily providing the benefits.

“We will look for a balanced approach, but where we can we will certainly look to house people in the community.”

Blackwater mayor Peter Maguire welcomed Stanmore Coal’s decision.

“It’s a different view to a lot of the others, and it is a refreshing view for the region and nice to hear some of these companies say their employment practice is to house workers in the region,” he said.

“At this point, we don’t know if they’re intending to build in Blackwater or Emerald or it could be a combination, but at least they’re talking about supplying housing,” he told the Central Queensland News.