Written by subcommittee member Claire Knox, Communications Coordinator & Executive Assistant, Ramelius Resources.

Ramelius Resources recently spoke with the CEO of Mount Magnet Shire, to discuss the impacts of a community benefit fund the mining company set up to give back to the region in which they operate.

Ramelius Resources Senior HSQT Coordinator Eleanor McKechnie at Mount Magnet.

Ramelius Resources Site Administrator Danielle McLaughlin in Mount Magnet.

Since 2015, the Ramelius Resources Community Benefit Fund (RCBF) has been supporting a number of organisations within Mount Magnet, can you tell us a bit about the program?

My experience since arriving in January 2018 and participating in several RCBF quarterly meetings, I have found that the funding awarded from the RCBF program has been very successful to community recipients.

Who are the Ramelius Resources Community Benefit Fund Advisory Group?

Currently a nominated elected member representative (Councillor), the Chief Executive Officer of the Shire, the Officer in Charge of the Mount Magnet Police and a representative from Ramelius Resources’ executive management.

How does the fund support the community?

By providing funding to community groups to undertake social, community and/or recreational projects.

What is the criteria selection to be able to apply for funding?

The criteria for the RCBF program was reviewed by the current CEO of the Shire in early 2018 that included an acquittal process for funded projects. Selection is based on answers to the following criteria:

  • Will it help local young people to reach their full potential?

  • Will it help local community members gain leadership skills?

  • Will it give local people the opportunity to communicate with one another?

  • Will it use local resources and volunteers?

  • Will it provide financial, economic or social benefits to the local community?

We are aware that Mount Magnet has a high indigenous population, can you advise if any of the funding has assisted them in any way?

The indigenous organisations and groups are the largest percentage of applicants to the RCBF that is reflective of the community indigenous population. The projects that have received RCBF funding have been varied in the sport, health, tourism and community development areas, which have been extremely beneficial to these groups. This is especially evident in the positive outcomes these projects have had for the indigenous population that have enhanced community well-being.

What is the Shire's role and how is the funding allocated?

The Shire is the facilitator of the RCBF program that provides management and financial support to the program.

More than 20 community organisations have benefited from the fund, can you tell us about some of the most recently funded projects?

  • Geraldton Sporting Aboriginal Corporation - for the development of youth football clinics and required travel to compete in the Geraldton Football League, attendance to clinics in Perth and development clinics held within Mount Magnet.

  • Mount Magnet Seniors Group - to assist with the purchase of a barbecue, with which the Seniors can hold regular functions and fund raise.

  • WA Centre for Rural Health - to assist with funding for the 'Red Dust Healing' program, which was intended to provide a unique cultural healing program from an indigenous perspective.

  • Mount Magnet District High School (MMDHS) - to provide financial assistance towards a team of MMDHS children attending the annual LEGO League Challengers event in Perth in November of this year.

  • EON Foundation Inc - their Thriving Communities Program is an innovative, grassroots program that has been delivered in 24 remote communities across Western Australia with great success. The Program operates by invitation only from remote, Aboriginal communities. It is a hands-on gardening, cooking, nutrition education and hygiene program based around establishing edible fruit, vegetable and bush tucker gardens in remote schools with the involvement of local community members. The gardens provide a source of fresh, healthy food for school children and the community in general and a basis for training and jobs for local people. With RCBF financial assistance the program has now commenced in Mount Magnet and is very successful.

  • Mount Magnet Gymkhana Club - this grant request by the Club was for hosting the event that provided educational and recreational skills for children in the Mount Magnet District while simultaneously providing something for the wider community.

What are the results of these projects?

Improvement in community development and social cohesion is evident in the benefits of the RCBF program, especially in the variety of projects that have been funded and the tangible results. The review of the selection criteria in 2018, and particularly the introduction of the project acquittal process, has greatly enhanced the credibility and equity of the program.

What's in store for 2019?

The RCBF program to continue providing funding to community and not-for-profits groups and organisations that will expand to Include a strategic aligned development focus.

Discover some of Mount Magnet’s beauty, with photographer and Ramelius Resources’ employee Ian Beattie.