Mining donates to keep Westpac Rescue choppers flying

The NSW Minerals Council has contributed $270,000 to Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service to assist with running costs.

The funding is the latest support from NSWMC, in a partnership that has run for more than three decades.

“The service the Westpac Rescue choppers provide to our industry and to our communities in the Hunter and Northern NSW is invaluable,” NSW Minerals Council chair, Stefanie Loader, said.

“The contribution of $270,000 over three years from the NSW Minerals Council will ensure everyone in the community has access to this vital service that helps save so many lives each year,” Loader said.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service chair Cliff Marsh said their relationship with NSW Minerals council was very close, and that the service regularly attended minesites.

“The relationship we have with the Minerals Council makes things more positive for the service, and the association is a very close one, as it is with the mining industry generally,” he said.

“We’re so appreciative of the assistance we get from the industry, it’s absolutely marvellous, and I doubt wed be able to provide the standard of the service we do if it wasn’t for the mining industry.”

“When you’re looking at helicopters they’re a pretty expensive item to run by the hour, but that sort of contribution is spread across the service, it may help with staff salaries, particularly pilots and crewmen, and machine maintenance.”

Marsh could not divulge the average salary of a pilot with the service, but assured Australian Mining: “They make a lot, put it that way.”

Rio Tinto and BHP have also committed to supporting rescue chopper services in the regions, with BHP donating $330,000 over three years to Central Queensland's RACQ Helicopter Rescue Service whilst also price matching employee donations at a ratio of 2:1 up to $100,000 annually.

Rio has provided $10 million in sponsorship for Queensland's EMQ Helicopter Rescue Service, at the rate of $1 million per year over ten years.

In South Australia's Cooper Basin Senex Energy and Drillsearch set up Copper Medivac 24, a night-vision equipped helicopter which will provide a vital medical transport service for delivering critically ill patients from remote areas to the nearest airstrip accessible by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.