Close to $7 million has been contributed by the Western Australian resources sector through a COVID-19 initiative to benefit the WA community.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) established the Community Support Initiative in the face of the COVID19 outbreak and its members were quick to provide their financial support, to be distributed between three key WA organisations – Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations (RFDS WO), Foodbank WA and Lifeline WA.
CME 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,” Mr Everingham 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.
So far, Albemarle Lithium, AngloGold Ashanti Australia, BHP, Chevron Australia, CITIC Pacific Mining, Fortescue Metals Group, Gold Fields, Gold Road Resources, Mount Gibson Iron, Newcrest Mining, Ramelius Resources, Regis Resources, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, Saracen Minerals, South32, Talison Lithium, Transalta Australia and Woodside Energy have contributed to the initiative, with further companies finalising their investment over the coming days and weeks.
Mr Everingham said contributions to the COVID-19 initiative are above and beyond the significant contributions made by the resources sector to support numerous other organisations/charities across Western Australia and Australia, prior to, during and beyond COVID-19, including:
- Up to $160 million from Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation and Fortescue Metals Group to procure and distribute medical supplies and increase testing;
- $25 million from Rio Tinto to support global grassroots community COVID-19 preparedness and recovery, on top of its recent extension of its $15 million Royal Flying Doctors partnership to support health for remote communities in Western Australia;
- BHP establishing a $50 million Vital Resources Fund to help support regional Australian communities in its areas of operation, which are facing the significant challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows BHP’s commitment to deliver $100 million into small, local and Indigenous businesses by accelerating payments and reducing payment terms to seven days (from 30 days), and to employ a further 1,500 people to support its Australian operations; and
- Woodside will establish a $10 million COVID-19 Community Fund to provide direct support to the communities where they are active.