Hunter Valley Coal Mines
Anyone visiting the Hunter Valley area cannot miss the coal trains that pass through regularly both during the day and the night as this part of Australia is identified as having a significantly large amount of coal deposits. Therefore, there is no mistake in saying that hunter valley is best know for its coal mines. Nearby cities are the port city of Newcastle and Sydney.
There are other industries such as farms, vineyards and wineries in the area but Hunter Valley is a signature mark for its coal mines. Most residents in the area are from the traditional coal mining families that were carried on from generation to generation. The coal mining wages are expected to increase from its $120,000 per year, for the next year.
Jeff Drayton, life-long resident, coalminer and deputy mayor, says this is pretty much a company town. ''I'd say 80 per cent of employment in the Muswellbrook shire; if you don't work directly for the mine you'd work indirectly for it,'' he says.
New coal mines are sprouting like mushrooms on a regular basis and environmentalists and similar pressure groups are mounting pressure on the government to stop approving new coal mines. This is largely due to the water contamination issues, the dust that is generated by these mines and to reduce the green house gas emissions.
Many health conscious residents have moved out to other areas to get away from the dust.
On the other hand looking at the situation from the coal miner's perspectives and the businesses aspect, things could not be better. The recession and the economic downturn do not have an impact on the coal industry. Jobs are available and wages are on the increase depending on the success of each coal mining business.
Each coal mining plant in the Hunter valley has over 300 employees and contributes significantly towards the community as well, this includes, sponsorships for sporting events, charitable events, junior sports events and events for the disabled.
Meanwhile employee benefits are good was well. Employees of the coal mines are given the benefits, of Health care, Schools and education facilities, Child care facilities, Council services, Facilities and community groups, Sporting facilities, entertainment and sometimes even accommodation as well.
Those visiting Hunter valley can be taken on a coal mining tour to get a closer look at how things work in this highly industrialized area. Those who take the tour can look forward to an enjoyable learning experience of Australia's largest export industry and domestic source of energy.
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