Fortescue contract triggers John Holland recruitment drive

John Holland tracklayer in action. Image courtesy of John Holland

John Holland plans to recruit 400 new workers on the back of winning major new contracts in Western Australia, including a $130 million deal with Fortescue Metals Group.

The engineering contractor was awarded the contract by Fortescue to construct 143 kilometres of heavy haul track on Eliwana mine and rail project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

John Holland’s contract is a design and construction extension to the existing signalling and train control systems and a traffic capacity extension to the communication infrastructure for Eliwana.

The track construction works will connect the new Eliwana rail line to the existing Fortescue Hamersley line to Port Hedland. The engagement will see John Holland manage a newly-upgraded rail welding facility in Port Hedland, as well as the design, construct and integration of the signalling and train control systems.

The company’s integrated track and signalling rail project solution in WA will create jobs in Port Hedland and Perth in areas such as welding, track design, construction, civil and electrical engineering.

John Holland operations manager Rob Hennessy said the company was a major employer in the Australian rail and construction industries and would create significant employment opportunities in the West Australian market at a time when it was most needed.

“This is a great indication of the strength of our business in WA,” Hennessy said. “We will always focus on local talent first – especially in regional areas such as in the Pilbara, where most of these jobs have been created.

“These roles will require rail worker competencies and some apprenticeships, which will provide an opportunity for hands-on learning and mentoring with some of the industry’s most experienced operators.”

John Holland employs more than 5000 people across its construction, tunnelling, rail and building projects in Australia.

The company has strengthened its rail, engineering and construction capacity after it acquired RCR O’Donnell Griffin’s rail business – saving 400 jobs in the process.

Fortescue is developing the Eliwana iron ore mine and associated infrastructure with an investment of $1.27 billion.

The project will extend Fortescue’s existing iron ore mine sites of Cloudbreak, Christmas Creek and Solomon, and sustain production from existing deposits, particularly Kings and Firetail deposits. Production from the mine is forecast to commence in December 2020.

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