Mining giant in radical program to fight suicide (Makay Daily Mercury – July 17, 2017)

ANGLO-Swiss mining giant Glencore is establishing an Australian beachhead in the fight against suicide with a radical program already under way in the historic mining town of Clermont, southwest of Mackay.

Glencore, along with the NSW Coal Services Health and Safety Trust, is a driving force behind Mates in Mining, which encourages workers to ask each other a confronting question still regarded as taboo: “Are you contemplating suicide?” The program fuses together workers, unions and employers in tackling an issue that’s at crisis proportions among men working in construction and mining.

Glencore is backing the charity, which is soon to be rolled out across the nation, while other mining companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto have in-house programs to deal with the issue.

Mates in Mining already has a member of the CFMEU on its national board, and uses the skills of ordinary workers to monitor their colleagues’ wellbeing. Glencore spokesman for coal assets Australia Allyn Hamonet said the program was breaking new ground with an overwhelmingly positive response from workers.

“What many people don’t realise is that people employed in mining are accustomed to look out for each other’s safety,” he said. “This program simply builds on that natural impulse.”

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