Muswellbrook High School students tour Mt Arthur Coal mine

MUSWELLBROOK High School Year 9 students were thinking “big” when they toured Mt Arthur Coal mine this month.

The expedition of BHP Billiton’s facility by 30 pupils was part of the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue’s School Mine Tours Program, which is scheduled to see about 1200 local Year 9 and Year 5 students visit mine sites across the Upper Hunter over the next 12 months.

The School Mine Tours Program aims to educate Upper Hunter youngsters on all aspects of coal mining including its impacts on the community and the benefits it provides in our day-to-day lives. 

The initiative also gives students and teachers the unique opportunity of seeing mining operations up close while presenting factual and unbiased information.

The pupils were guided through the Mt Arthur operations by contracts coordinator Nigel Smith and apprentices Blake Holden and Ebony Ford who gave first-hand accounts of their experiences working at a mine.

Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue chairman Dave O’Brien said the tours were designed to teach youth the facts about mining including its impacts and benefits.

“The dialogue‘s School Mine Tours Program aims to demystify the mining process while teaching the facts instead of opinion or emotion,” he said.

With all the dialogue’s mining industry partners supporting the program, tours will be conducted at most open cut mine sites across the Upper Hunter.

In conjunction with the initiative, a working group including teachers is developing in-class materials which will align with the Year 9 syllabus.

As well, the dialogue is also developing a virtual reality video which students can use to learn about mining and how it and its products are part of their day-to-day lives.