18 September 2012
London 2012 medallist visits Upper Hunter communities
More than 500 school children from the Upper Hunter Valley are getting the chance to meet an Olympic hero this week, as Australian champion rower Drew Ginn tours the region.
Mr Ginn is visiting schools, community groups and coal mines, thanks to his role as an athlete ambassador for Rio Tinto, a proud, official partner of the Australian Olympic Team.
Having just capped off his fourth Olympic Games with a silver medal in London, the three-time gold medallist has been sharing his experiences about teamwork, overcoming obstacles and achieving goals with the local community.
The tour included Mr Ginn meeting some of the Upper Hunter's aspiring young athletes at the Singleton Amateur Swimming Club, which Rio Tinto-managed Coal & Allied proudly supports through its Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth Site Donation Committees.
Singleton Amateur Swimming Club President Sonya Moore said "We were stoked that Drew was able to come and visit us during our annual registration day and also have a chat with our representative squad. I'm sure Drew has inspired a few more to get involved this time around after they got the chance to hear about his Olympic successes."
Mr Ginn took a tour of the Hunter Valley Operations mine, which saw him visit the dragline and ride in one of the site's massive 240-tonne haul trucks.
Mr Ginn said "I'm used to riding in something that weighs 60 kilos and barely sits above the water, so riding in a four-storey, 240-tonne truck was a great experience. I was also pleased to share my ideas about the power of teams and learn more about how the team at Coal & Allied works and gets results."
Hunter Valley Operations General Manager Operations Tom Lukeman said "Employees were particularly keen to see the silver medal Drew won last month, given Rio Tinto was the exclusive provider of metal for the London Games.
"It's exciting to know that these medals have come from Rio Tinto's mines and they represent the hard work and efforts of our colleagues around the world."
Mr Ginn's visit is part of Rio Tinto's broader sponsorship of the Australian Olympic Team, which has seen the company spread the Olympic spirit in some of Australia's regional and remote mining communities through its athlete ambassador programme.
Mr Lukeman said "We're so proud to be supporting the Australian Olympic Team and grateful to be able to share this experience with our local communities."
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
About Coal & Allied
Coal & Allied has been part of the Hunter Valley community for more than 165 years and today manages three open cut coal mines. We aim to achieve shared value with members of the communities in which we operate. Our operations create not only economic value - but value for society by addressing communities' needs and challenges.
In 2011 our operations employed more than 2500 employees and over 1500 contractors, and spent more than $1.7 billion with close to 1300 businesses across NSW. To date our community development funds have invested more than $13 million in the Hunter Valley and have recommitted a further $4.5 million over three years commencing in 2012 to build stronger, smarter and more sustainable communities around our operations.
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