Hay Point Coal Terminal. Photo: Tony Martin / Daily Mercury
Hay Point Coal Terminal. Photo: Tony Martin / Daily Mercury Tony Martin

Former Mackay MP to protest major mining company

FORMER Mackay MP Jim Pearce will rally BHP to garner funding support for coal mine dust diseases today.

The Mine Dust Victims Group have made attempts to reach out to senior staff at the major mining company seeking support for the establishment of a victims support fund for people with mine dust diseases.

Mr Pearce, who is a former coal miner said today mine dust victims would not accept being ignored by the mining corporations. 

"These companies reap enormous profits from the labour of their workers," Mr Pearce said. 


Sitting Labor Member for Mirani  Jim Pearce.
Former Labor Member for Mirani Jim Pearce is a vocal advocate for miners. Luke Mortimer

Mr Pearce said despite massive profits, he believed big mining companies have not done enough to support workers who contract potentially deadly and debilitating mine dust diseases while working in their mines. 

"These workers are battling simply to pay their medical bills," he said. "Over 100 Queensland mineworkers have already been diagnosed with mine dust diseases such as black lung and silicosis, and the number is growing by the month."

The Mine Dust Disease Victims Support Group has proposed a "modest" 1 cent per tonne, per week levy to contribute into a fund for sick workers and their families. 

"This ask is not radical or unreasonable. In the US, coal companies pay a $US1.10 per tonne levy on each tonne of coal produced to assist mine disease victims," Mr Pearce said.

"Our proposal would hardly be a blip on the radar of wealthy companies.  

"It is time for the mining companies to do the right thing and support these sick workers."

The group of protesters will meet at BHP's Brisbane Office on Queens Street this morning to protest and demand meeting with BHP executives.

Percy Verrall, the first Queensland miner diagnosed with black lung in 2015, some 30 years after the disease was thought to have been eradicated will attend the protest.