Federal skills Minister Chris Evans says Rio Tinto should target local workers in its campaign to fill 6,000 mining jobs in four months.
According to SkyNews Evans called for Rio to focus on skilled Australians before searching for overseas workers to fill positions.
"I'd like to see Rio try and recruit as many workers locally as they can and I'd also like to make sure they're doing as much as they can to provide training opportunities for young Australians to take up those positions," he said.
"I know they've been increasing their commitment to local training and I know they prefer to have Australian workers if they can."
Evans made the comments after launching an expanded WesTrac skills centre in Perth.
The centre will train 420 people for work in mining and construction, and was partially funded by the Government.
Last week Rio announced it was launching one of the largest recruitment drives in Australia's history to find desperately needed workers for its mining projects.
The company is looking to fill 6,000 jobs in four months, with around two thirds of the vacancies on Rio's 14 West Australian sites.