SA Mines and Energy Journal : October-November 09
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2009 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL 17 FEATURE Land access and native title remained high on the agenda, and South Australia led the way with the introduction of Indigenous land-use agreements. "The leadership of the big personalities in those days is now bearing fruit, " Goreing said. "I came from outside the industry, but I made some terrific friendships. I never met a miner I didn't like. They're great people. " Reflecting the flat state of the industry, membership had sunk to around 60 member companies when Phil Sutherland was appointed CEO in 2001. "The chamber was barely viable. There was not a lot of money to do the sort of things you really needed to do, "he said. "The first few years were a bit of a struggle. But I think we did what we could, made the best use of the available dollars, and created a platform to spring from once a resurgence occurred. " But in 2004/05, things began to turn. Sutherland reckons that the discovery of Prominent Hill was the moment that really put South Australia back on the radar as a place worth investing in for exploration. "By the time I left in 2007, the membership was up to around 180. The growth in the industry was astronomical. But having said that, people won't support an industry association if they are not seeing a return on their membership dollars. The chamber had to be doing a good and useful job. " Founding member and current president John Roberts has been involved in the industry for more than 50 years. He said there would always be issues to deal with, and he suspects that the nuclear question is still one of the biggest. Land access still has to be addressed, although he believes that persistent consultations on the question of exploration access to the Woomera Prohibited Area and other lands controlled by the Department of Defence "are starting to get a workable resolution of the issue" . He points to SACOME's involvement in Indigenous issues from the beginning as one of its great achievements. "It has, I believe, been trail- blazing. " The most significant development he has seen in recent years has been governments' investment in accelerating exploration. "It has achieved quite outstanding successes in terms of discoveries. " His current term as president has roughly coincided with the resulting boom in mining activity and with the consequent expansion of SACOME. "It is a larger organisation now. We offer a broader spectrum of services, and are more capable of moving quickly, " Roberts said. "To give a recent example, when the Government decided to review and amend the Mining Act, we were able to immediately form a sub-committee of mining representatives and were able to put in a very timely submission with regard to that. " Under the leadership of current Chief Executive Jason Kuchel, SACOME offers expertise in The Olympic Dam deposit discovery was probably the pivotal point Reproduced from Johnny Green's Journal. By Stephen Stanley.