Three mining companies with strong Indigenous links were honoured at the 2023 Association of Mining and Exploration Companies Awards on the weekend.
AMEC chief executive, Warren Pearce said the awards night was an opportunity for the industry to reflect on the great achievements of individuals and companies that work tirelessly around the country every day.
"To showcase the industry's commitment to exploration, diversity and inclusion, the environment, First Nations empowerment, and contribution to community, is testament to the enduring benefits provided by this industry," he said.
S2 Resources won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander empowerment award, for their work in Victoria at the Greater Fosterville Project.
Working with two separate Traditional Owner groups, S2 Resources found common ground that enabled the protection of sacred sites, while exploration works could continue.
"A willingness to listen and work with traditional owners demonstrates the ability for companies to co-exist with local groups," Mr Pearce said.
"It also created a deed template for traditional owners and companies to access in the future."
Teck Australia was rewarded for its partnership with the Moriarty Foundation's Indi Kindi Program, winning the community contribution award.
An early-years solution for children under five living in remote Aboriginal communities, Teck has committed to the Indi Kindi Program since 2018, helping transform the lives of Indigenous youth in the communities they operate.
The diversity and inclusion award - for encouraging and providing diversity and inclusion in the mining industry - was awarded to Gold Road Resources, which exceeded targets for both Indigenous and female participation in their workplace.
"Not only did Gold Road beat industry averages in diversity and inclusion, an impressive 40 per cent of their leadership positions are held by women," Mr Pearce said.
The Prospector Award highlights the importance the mining and exploration industry contributes to Australia, not just economically.
Taking out the gong for 2023 were Matt Crowe, Luke Blais, Nick Chapman and Ross Chandler for the Yin Discovery in Western Australia's Gascoyne region.
"This award recognises four individuals from Dreadnought Resources, responsible for the first drill holes intersecting the highest grade intercepts the region had seen in over 50 years," Mr Pearce said.
"The Yin Discovery breathes new life into an unloved part of WA for a critical metals future, and is the result of challenging paradigms followed by the execution of technical excellence."
IGO Limited took home the environment award, with a creative solution to reduce carbon emissions.
By using a by-product from its partner, Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia, the company was able to partially replace cement binders with delithiated beta spodumene (DPS) and reduce landfill waste.
"It was obvious IGO's environmental contribution deserved recognition. Their innovative solution helped lower carbon emissions and created a sustainable solution for their underground mining operations," Mr Pearce said.
The media award to Queensland-based ABC reporter Halina Baczkowski came after her investigation into farmers facing a global fertiliser supply shortage.
"Halina visited disused mines in regional Queensland, speaking to industry experts about a creative solution to create phosphate fertiliser. It showed how both the agricultural and mining industries can work together to benefit the Australian people," Mr Pearce said.
2023 AMEC award winners:
Prospector Award - Matt Crowe, Luke Blais, Nick Chapman and Ross Chandler for the Yin Discovery
Community Contribution Award - Teck Australia
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Empowerment Award - S2 Resources
Diversity and Inclusion Award - Gold Road Resources
Media Award - Halina Baczkowski, ABC Landline
Environment Award - IGO