BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has welcomed 20 Indigenous trainees at the Caval Ridge coal mine in Queensland as part of a new 12-month traineeship program.
Under the program, BMA’s trainees will complete a Certificate II in Surface Extraction/Resource Processing, and work with the drill, overburden, coal mining, mine services and coal handling and processing plant (CHPP) teams.
BMA general manager at Caval Ridge, Brad Prytherch said the program was developed in collaboration with the local Traditional Owners, the Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation.
“Cabal Ridge mine is on Barada Barna country and we have been working closely with our Traditional Owners to create opportunities for their people and other Indigenous people in Queensland,” Prytherch said.
“We respect their ongoing custodianship and connection to this country and we want to ensure that the benefits of mining are shred with them.
“BMA recognises that we are stronger when we provide a work environment that appreciates our differences, where people feel included and are treated fairly and with respect.”
BMA worked alongside the Barada Barna people from developing the traineeship up to the recruitment process, and to date has hired nearly 50 per cent Barada Barna people, together with Indigenous people from across Queensland.
An Indigenous trainee drill operator, Chris Brown said he was thrilled to find out he received a permanent role with BMA through the traineeship program.
“I haven’t had a dream in a long time, but I’ve already started placing targets and setting goals,” Brown said.
“The most valuable material thing I’ve ever owned is a second hand 2004 Mazda 6, now I’m thinking about finding a nice place to buy a house and settle down, a place to call home that I can actually own.
“Like any new job, the first weeks are always daunting. With no experience in this type of mining, I had no idea what to expect. Once I actually started and I met the team, all of these feelings went away and now I’m just excited to learn.”