New mine safety training program launched
July 02, 2012

The mining industry is the fastest growing provider of new jobs in New South Wales, meaning that the industry needs more highly trained operators. The new CoalStart program is a great addition to the industry's world class safety standards, and will be an excellent resource for employees new to the mining sector by offering hands-on experience on actual mine sites as well as other safety training. 

The 3-week program takes place at two custom-built training centres in Newcastle. The first is at Newcastle Mines Rescue Station at Argenton and utilises Coal Services’ virtual reality simulation technology. This platform, which replicates an underground mine, gives trainees an opportunity to get familiar with the mining environment, equipment and operations and associated hazards before actually entering a mine.  It also uses UGM’s Teralba mine site which includes an underground training gallery with typical mining production and maintenance equipment


Christopher Hartcher, NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, spoke at the official launch in Teralba, near Lake Macquarie.

“The CoalStart program is an important initiative that will effectively serve the changing needs of the NSW coal mining industry. The first class training facilities will ensure new miners are both work ready and work safe – crucial to supporting the health and safety of the industry,” he said.

CoalStart is distinctive because it combines the three components of operator training: classroom sessions, virtual reality simulation training and practical application at the Teralba mine site give trainees an introduction to concepts as well as an opportunity to apply their new skills.

Paul Hartcher, the Managing Director of the UGM Group, emphasized the program’s uniqueness within the coal mining industry in NSW. 

“Our purpose built training centre ensures the trainees are exposed to hands-on practical training on an actual mine site, something not previously seen in this industry,” he said. “This exposure supports the trainees to function as high quality, safe, efficient team members who are ready to become productive mineworkers.”

And at the end of the CoalStart program, aside from the invaluable practical experience in underground operator processes, participants are well on their way to achieving Certificate II and Certificate III in underground mining. 

The initiative is an excellent addition to NSW Miners’ already strong training and safety programs, providing a framework for the industry’s future growth.

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