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The History of TMEC

TMEC Life Member, Bob Calvert, has captured the Council’s 37-year journey from a small Tasmanian branch of the Australian Mining and Mineral Association (AMMA) to what is today’s peak body for mining, minerals processing, energy and manufacturing in the state.

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The Early Years

In 1981 the foundation was laid for the TMEC of today when general managers of Tasmania’s mining and mineral processing industry moved to establish a stand-alone organisation to represent the state’s unique needs and political landscape. It took a further four years before the Tasmanian Chamber of Mines was officially gazetted in December of 1985 with the General Manager of Comalco Aluminium, Jim Stewart as its President.

It was a tumultuous time in Tasmania’s political history with votes of no confidence in the Premier occurring in parliament and a plebiscite on the preferred structure of a hydro-electric power scheme dividing the state. Blockades of the Franklin Dam site were common in the early 1980s, led by the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, giving the original seven-member Chamber much to discuss.

At its formation, the Tasmanian Chamber of Mines comprised of members representing Comalco Aluminium, EZ Risdon, Stacpoole Drilling, CRA, Cornwall Coal, Savage River Mines and Dept Mines.

By the end of the decade, the Chamber office had moved to the Tasmanian Minerals Centre on the corner of Davey and Murray Streets in Hobart and work was being done to counter the Greens anti-mining campaigns. In 1991, Jack Symons was recognised as a Life Member of the organisation.

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Industry Promotion

The Chamber’s work was evident with the launch of Mining Week in 1992 which coincided with a five year exhibition on the mining and minerals industry at QV Museum and a protest at Tasmania’s Parliament House to demonstrate the importance of the industry to the state’s economic and social future.

Mining Week became a seven-year success story attracting multiple newspaper articles and many visitors to mine open days and exhibitions. Over this time, the event travelled from Launceston to Hobart, Beaconsfield, Burnie, Derby and Zeehan and was supported by numerous tours of mine sites by primary, secondary, tertiary and adult education students. This link to the education sector was strengthened by the appointment of Ron Bugg to the role of Education Officer, a service he would fulfil for 14 years from 1994 to 2008.

It was also around this time that Tasmania’s mining industry and sites began to be featured in the state’s tourism promotions under the banner of ‘Tassie from the inside’.

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The Tasmanian Minerals Council was formed

In 1995, under the Presidency of Harry Stacpoole, the Chamber changed its name to the Tasmanian Minerals Council and the following year Terry Long commenced as Executive Director. Harry Stacpoole was to go on to be named a Life Member of the Council in 2001, later followed by David Schmidt in 1996.

The advent of the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement in 1997 provided security of access to the mining industry by defining land tenures that allowed for exploration and mining together with the protection of environmental and heritage values.

In 2002 the Council contributed a strong voice to the need for a Bass Link energy connection. This was also the time when the first female General Manager was appointed in the Tasmanian mining and minerals industry with Xiaoling Ling at Comalco, soon emulated by the first female underground mine manager with Fran Burgess at Rosebery.

The Tasmanian Minerals Council board voted to resist a move by Minerals Council Australia for it to merge with the Victorian Minerals Council chapter in 2003 and the group entered a decade of stable representation of an industry that continued to experience business transformation arising from a series of mergers and acquisitions.

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The Bigger Picture

Energy, Manufacturing and the Bigger Picture

In 2012, Roger Martin was awarded Life Membership of the Council and Wayne Bould became President for a two year term.  It was during this time that an Energy committee was added to the industry body and a public campaign to ‘Take a Look at the Bigger Picture’ was launched with a new Council name and brand identity.

The Council was based in Hobart until 2015 at which time it relocated to Burnie. Life Membership was extended to Matt Daly and soon after Advanced Manufacturing became another industry pillar of the Council.  In 2019 the name was amended to the Tasmanian Minerals, Manufacturing and Energy Council.

We look forward to continuing the journey with you, and thank you for your ongoing support.

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