A delegation of seventeen members of Gunnedah including Councillors, Council staff, Chamber of Commerce members and local businesess travelled to China from the 17-27 July 2015 with the view of establishing a Sister City relationship with the Linhe District in Inner Mongolia.
Shenhua's involvement was to provide initial assistance to undertake planning for the trip and to provide support during their visit with interpreters and cultural aspects. The tour also included meetings with Shenhua officials in Beijing and an inspection of a Shenhua open-cut mine operation in Xue Jia Wan.
Mayor Owen Hasler said "The delegation was extremely impressed with the remediation of the mine site where previous semi-desert eroded land prior to mining had been converted into productive farmland which grow crops such as cucumber, squash, potatoes, corn and melons for the local community. It showed how mining and agriculture can co-exist and complement each other."
Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce, former President, Ann Luke said, "We met a diverse range of business people which allows us to explore opportunities for Gunnedah businesses to service Chinese interests and investments as well as opening the door for tourism."
At the end of the visit there were positive indications of support from the Linhe District for the Sister City relationship which was demonstrated by their regular attendance at all events on our tours. The delegation was shown a number of innovative and modern agricultural enterprises including a sheep breeding facility, very extensive enclosed fruit and vegetable growing facilities and a sheep abattoir whose production line equipment had been imported from Australia. As an enduring symbol of the new relationship, representatives of both communities planted a large tree of friendship in the Yellow River Wetland Park.
Rehabilitation at the Shenhua open cut mine at Xue Jia Wan
Productive rehabilitation farmland at Xue Jia Wan
Shenhua staff members, Mr Ping Gang, Vice President of Shenhua Group and the Sister City delegation at a Farewell function hosted by Shenhua prior to their departure to China.