As Renison Mine’s Safety Training and Emergency Response Coordinator, part of Steve’s job involves organising the ER competition being hosted by Renison this year.
Image: Steve Rush
“At last year’s ER comp we won the underground competition. So I hope this year we win the overall comp,” Steve says.
“I’ve worked at Renison in my role since 2008. As well as the ER side, I’m the mine’s site safety trainer which involves ensuring that all mine personnel are up to date with current legislation for all high risk licences, for example, and Renison’s site procedures.
“Renison is a great place to work as everybody is easy-going and friendly. The best thing about the job is that it’s very flexible and that there is a lot of variety with different challenges every day.”
Steve's mining career started in 1981 working as a ‘nipper’ at the Rosebery mine. During his 19 years here he moved into jumbo development mining and underground training in using gear.
“I was the first person at the Rosebery mine to operate a diesel operated loader. It was quite a switch from the early days when we used air operated boggers.”
Steve left the Rosebery mine in 2000 to work for three years as transport manager at Lloyds North. While he enjoyed this role, it was his passion for the mining industry that coaxed him back into it when the opportunity at Renison arose in 2008.
Image by Carol Maney - Renison mine won the 2014 Tasmanian Minerals Emergency Response Underground Mine event.
Steve became a drive-in, drive-out ‘seagull’ 16 years after buying a house on the North West Coast. These days he rents a house in Zeehan through the week and travels home on weekends to catch up with his wife, three adult children and nine grandchildren.
“In 2008 all the mines on the West Coast were in full operation in contrast to now,” Steve says.
“But mining is renowned for its cyclical periods and I’m confident that prices will pick up again soon, as has been reported recently.”
Renison, which is Australia’s biggest tin mine operating, employs approximately 300 people including contractors. The Advocate newspaper reported on 8 August 2015 that half owners Metals X advised that its three key tin projects included Renison along with a planned Renison Tailings retreatment program called Rentails and Mt Mount Bischoff.
The Mt Bischoff tin mine was discovered in the late 1800s and was Tasmania’s first major mine. Tin at the time was the metal of choice. The riches from that mine alone underpinned the rise of Launceston from a provincial town to a city and that’s why the tin symbol is still contained in the city’s Coat of Arms. Mt Bischoff has been on Care and Maintenance since 2011.
Image: Mount Bischoff