Rio Tinto Iron Ore will start its new fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) commute roster from Busselton before the end of the year.
The program will effectively link the expanding population of the south-west with iron ore mines in the Pilbara.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore is the world’s second largest iron ore producer.
In Western Australia its operations are managed by Pilbara Iron, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto.
Managing Director Pilbara Mine Operations Dr David Smith said the Busselton FIFO program is part of a broader strategy to provide employees with a range of work and lifestyle options.
“Pilbara Iron operates 10 mines, three ports and a 1300 kilometre rail network in the Pilbara. We currently employ more than 5,000 people, a further 6,000 contractors and plan to recruit more than 1,000 new people this year,” Dr Smith said.
“Given the tight labour market across Australian industry and our plans to expand our production capacity to 320 million tonnes in the future, we intend to provide our employees a wider range of lifestyle options, such as FIFO from regional locations around the State.
“Our first regional FIFO program started from Geraldton in early 2006 with 25 people.
Today, some 70 people commute from Geraldton to the West Pilbara and as of a few months ago, a further 20 Indigenous people commute from Broome to the East Pilbara.”
Smith said the Busselton FIFO program will start with about 80 people, the majority of which are existing employees. It will complement the company’s existing FIFO programs including Perth, and aid its ability to recruit and retain people in Western Australia.
“Busselton will provide a gateway from the south-west – where a large and expanding population is attracted to the coastal and rural lifestyle – to the range of professional and trades jobs currently on offer in the Pilbara,” he said.
“Many of our employees already have homes in the south-west and we are aware of others currently undertaking FIFO from Perth for us and other companies. We hope they take an interest in this program and our company.”
The Busselton FIFO program will service the RTIO’s East Pilbara mines flying once a week from Busselton to West Angelas and Yandicoogina before returning to Busselton later in the day. A second weekly flight will be introduced based on workforce demand.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore will shortly kick off a recruitment campaign for south-west people interested in applying for jobs under the Busselton FIFO program in local media.