The mining industry’s vital role providing jobs and economic stability during COVID was featured in an incredible Australian-first live TV broadcast from an underground mine.
Sky News host Chris Smith aired his weekly show Chris Smith Tonight from deep inside Centennial’s Airly coal mine, between Lithgow and Mudgee.
In a highly-technical undertaking, Sky News tapped the mine’s fibre optic and communications networks to broadcast the hour-long show from the site more than 270m below the surface.
“It’s an Australian first to broadcast inside a working coal mine,” Mr Smith said.
“It is a rare opportunity to see how these operations work but also to discuss the myriad of recent issues related to our biggest export earner.”
The program also featured exclusive footage of mining operations, and interviews with life-long mine workers, community members and political leaders, including Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said it was an important event that recognised the huge effort undertaken to keep mines operating safely during the pandemic.
“Mining operations have continued largely uninterrupted and that’s delivered major economic benefits for our country, including to help to dig Australia out of deficit,” he stated.
“With the Upper Hunter by-election only weeks away, there is great interest in how mining is underpinning the economic recovery underway across Australia.
“The Airly mine is just one example of many operations driving economic activity at a time when we need it most.
“It was great to see this being celebrated during this special broadcast.”
Mr Smith was joined underground by Mr Fitzgibbon and Mr Barilaro where they discussed mining’s critical role in the national economic recovery.
“Mining underpins our exports, underpins our economy and during COVID-19 it was an industry that never shut down,” The Nationals leader said.
“It’s so important.”