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Australian mining sector donates millions to community - Gold Industry Group

Friday, 3 April 2020

Gold miners join other Western Australian resources companies in donating almost $7 million to the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS), Foodbank and Lifeline.

The COVID-19 Community Support Initiative set up by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CMEWA), has so far received much needed funds from Gold Industry Group (GIG) members AngloGold Ashanti Australia, Gold Fields, Gold Road Resources, Newcrest Mining, Ramelius Resources, Regis Resources and Saracen Mineral Holdings, with more companies finalising their investment over the coming days and weeks.

The $6.6 million provided to date by WA's resources sector will directly benefit communities across the State over the coming months.

GIG Vice Chairperson and Gold Fields Vice President Legal and Compliance, Kelly Carter, said it was heartening to see so many gold companies immediately rally behind the initiative.

"It is encouraging to see the gold sector join with the broader resources industry to respond so positively in such a short time frame to meet the immediate needs of our community, who are facing unprecedented challenges at this time.

"We are delighted to be able to support the vital work that Foodbank, Lifeline and RFDS are doing to support West Australians in need during this crisis," said Ms Carter.

CMEWA Chief Executive Paul Everingham said the funding would assist COVID-19 patients in remote and regional WA, as well as support mental health and provide essential supplies to vulnerable community members.

"During the coronavirus pandemic, the WA resources sector's highest priority is the health and safety of its people, their families and communities," he said.

"The sector is extremely grateful for being allowed to continue to operate in this environment and does not take the responsibility lightly.

"The resources sector has come together in solidarity at a time when the West Australian community is being asked to do the same thing.

"Our member companies are keen to collectively do something to further support our resources sector workforce, as well as the broader WA community, who are becoming increasingly challenged by current events.

GIG members join Albemarle Lithium, BHP, Chevron Australia, CITIC Pacific Mining, Fortescue Metals Group, Mount Gibson Iron, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, South32, Talison Lithium, Transalta Australia and Woodside Energy in the initiative.

"We are all in this together and we will stand with the WA community to overcome this challenge," Mr Everingham said.

RFDS Western Operations CEO Rebecca Tomkinson said the contribution would help to boost their service.

"We have been a trusted health care partner in Western Australia for more than 90 years. We are there to help a mate when they need us the most – and that time is now, in the coming weeks and the many months ahead. We are incredibly grateful for the critical support from CMEWA member companies which will assist us towards bolstering our service for the surge capacity we will need to respond across regional WA," Ms Tomkinson said.

Foodbank WA CEO Greg Hebble said the funding has come at a crucial time for the food relief charity as supplies are at an all-time low and demand is expected to surge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are incredibly grateful for the support of CMEWA as it will help us continue to provide a reliable supply of food and groceries to our charity partners and welfare agencies, to help the most vulnerable members of the community put food on the table," said Mr Hebble.

Lifeline WA CEO Lorna MacGregor said the significant contribution from CMEWA's members will save lives.

"Lifeline WA is eternally grateful for the overwhelming response from the Western Australian Government, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and its members for prioritising the mental health needs of our community at this crucial time. It is absolutely essential that we ensure our services have the capability to respond effectively to people who need our help. This significant contribution to Lifeline WA will save lives. We want to reassure every Western Australian that we are still here for you, at any time you need us on 13 11 14," said Ms MacGregor.

WA Premier Mark McGowan welcomed the COVID-19 Community Support Initiative and thanked CMEWA member companies for their efforts in responding to COVID-19.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we have ever experienced in Western Australia," he said. "All sections of the community have a responsibility to play their part in responding to COVID-19, and I acknowledge Western Australia's resources sector for its efforts to date.

"This is a fantastic initiative that will provide vital support to people in regioLifeline WA'nal WA, in particular those living in remote communities, who are particularly vulnerable during this time.

"I thank all Western Australians during this extremely challenging time and stress once again – we will get through these challenging times if we continue to work together," said Mr McGowan.

Mr Everingham said contributions to the COVID-19 initiative are above and beyond the already significant contributions made by the resources sector to support numerous other organisations and charities across both WA and Australia.

"The generosity of our member companies during this crisis has been overwhelming and is reflective of the top priority they place on protecting the health and safety of all of their employees and Western Australian communities," Mr Everingham said.

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