In 1895, following the discovery of gold in Coolgardie, local leaseholders and representatives of the area's gold mining companies formed the Coolgardie Chamber of Mines and Commerce to protect and advance their interests. The Kalgoorlie Chamber of Mines was inaugurated the following year, with a Perth Chamber of Mines established in 1897, consisting principally of attorneys and legal managers of gold mining companies. The Perth chapter soon folded as it was considered too removed from the industry's geographic centre.
Over the next few years, a great deal of new legislation was passed and trade unions grew in influence. It became necessary for mining companies to unite on a larger scale. So it was that in 1900, the Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie Chambers were amalgamated to provide a consolidated voice for the flourishing gold mining industry, and the Chamber of Mines of Western Australia was born.
At the first general meeting of the new Chamber on 11 March 1901, Richard Hamilton was unanimously elected as the inaugural President, a position he held until his death in 1943. This meeting was attended by 37 members, who voted upon the Chamber's structure and Constitution. At that time, the Chamber's financial assets totalled 520 pounds.
At its first meeting on 18 March 1901, the Chamber’s Executive Council discussed a range of matters including, opposition to the granting of a sluicing and dredging area as recommended by the Warden, methods of mine timbering, and a recommendation that the Government supply immediately at least 250 additional rolling stock for conveyance of fuel and fresh water supplies to the mines.
CME has grown with the mining industry, particularly through the boom times of the 1960s when key minerals such as iron ore, bauxite and nickel came on line. As the industry expanded into oil, petroleum and natural gas, so too did CME, leading to its formal renaming as the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia Inc (CME).
Today, CME's member companies generate 95 per cent of all mineral and energy production and employ 80 per cent of the resources sector workforce in the State. CME celebrated its centenary in 2001 and hopes to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2101 with a record of success and achievement as enviable as that of its first 100 years.