The NSW Minerals Council this morning announced the appointment of Xstrata Coal group executive Mick Buffier as its new chairman, replacing BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal president Colin Bloomfield.
In a statement, Buffier said he would look to further streamline the NSW approvals process, foster a “world-leading” OH&S culture and work with regional communities to deliver a sustainable future.
He will also push for “fair treatment for mining and regional NSW” by seeking changes to the Federal Government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).
Buffier joined Xstrata Coal in 2001 and has served as the company’s group executive since March this year.
In this role he is responsible for corporate affairs, government relations and sustainable development across Xstrata’s global coal operations.
Prior to this, he was chief operating officer of the company’s NSW coal mining operations.
“This continues to be a challenging time for the industry and the communities in which we operate,” he said.
“While we are developing our capacity, particularly through infrastructure improvements, the recovering economic outlook is tempered by a range of factors, including the very strong Australian dollar and the increasing costs of mining.
“In addition, the Federal Government’s proposed CPRS will mean a new tax on coal mines and put jobs and communities in regional NSW at risk.”
Buffier believes the State’s mining industry leads the way on workplace safety and he wants to keep it that way.
“The NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council, a partnership between industry, government and unions, is setting the standard on safety in mining,” he said.
“We endorse this cooperative approach to safety and believe it is critical to delivering progress on the Federal Government’s plans for national OH&S laws.”