MUSWELLBROOK businesses joined BHP Mt Arthur Coal employees for a rare "Meet the Buyer" event on Friday.
The function at the RSL Club on February 21, similar to a "speed dating" session, allowed them to hear how they can access supply options at the mine through the Local Buying Program.
The initiative, delivered by independent provider C-Res, was launched in 2016 to provide opportunities for businesses in the Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter shires, with 20 or less full-time employees, to competitively deliver goods and services to Mt Arthur.
BHP has now spent close to $30 million across more than 1500 work instructions through the Local Buying Program in NSW since 2016.
Muswellbrook-based owner of Double Picc cafe Simon Davis addressed the crowd, representing 32 local businesses, strongly encouraging them to participate.
"Becoming an Approved Supplier was a simple task and it is well worth the short amount of time it took to register," he said.
"When I first started the café I was coming from a mining career.
"So, I had a lot to learn and being a part of the Local Buy Program was easy and a contributor to our early success."
Mt Arthur Coal general manager Adam Lancey praised the concept, too.
"Engaging local and indigenous suppliers in the communities where we operate not only ensures the economic benefits of our operations are shared across our communities, but it simply makes good business sense," he said.
"There is no denying that a thriving small business community is essential for a healthy local economy.
"Small businesses can offer one-of-a-kind products and services; have the flexibility to respond to requests on short notice; and can offer a one-on-one reliable service; all the while keeping money filtering through the community.
"We've heard many stories from local business, who have put on new apprentices or employees due to the work they have received through the program, which is great for our communities and our local economies."
Interested businesses can find out more information or register with the program by visiting https://c-res.com.au/ or by emailing C-Res business development advisor Lisa Harpley at firstname.lastname@example.org