Newcrest Mining's Cadia Valley Operations has taken out the major 2011 NSW Minerals Council Environment and Community Excellence award for their unique partnership with the Errowanbang community.
Cadia and a small group of Errowanbang community members worked together on developing a Rent-A-Farmhouse scheme two years ago.
The scheme was successfully implemented and resulted in the local school's enrolments surging from 13 students to 39 after several new families moved to the area because of the attraction of low cost rental housing.
Gemma Green, one of the locals who helped come up with the idea, was in Wollongong on Monday at the gala awards night where the award winners were announced.
She described the event as a "great experience" and said she was proud to have represented the local community.
"I think our scheme was something the judges hadn't really heard of before - its the first Rent-A-Farm program that's occurred with the help of a major mining company," Ms Green said.
Newcrest was the joint winner of the award, which is also shared with an Illawarra based company.
Two years after the scheme began and the benefits of the scheme are still evident in the local community.
"We've got a public school bus service starting up in January and the prospect of a mobile daycare unit service coming from Cowra," Ms Green said.