Fortescue looks to sacked Indigenous Gove workers

Fortescue Metals Group is looking at potentially hiring the sacked Indigenous workers from Rio Tinto's Gove operations.

The move would be one aimed at boosting its Indigenous workforce, according to NT News.

It comes after Rio announced late last month that it would stop production at the Gove alumina refinery in the Northern Territory.

At the time Rio's chief Sam Walsh explained that "our aluminium business is facing challenging market conditions and tough decisions are needed, but those decisions are so much harder when our employees and local communities are affected".

"This is a very sad day for everyone associated with Gove.

"It has been an extremely difficult decision and we recognise it will have significant impact on our employees, the local community and the Northern Territory."

He went on to say the miner was working to identify initiatives to create new opportunities for the local people of Nhulunuy.

Now Fortescue has broached the idea of employing the Indigenous workforce, with CEO Nev Power saying it was a possibility.

However he was quick to add that the miner would first focus on employing Aborigines local to its Pilbara operations.

"Our commitment is first and foremost to the local communities – Roebourne, Jigalong, Newman, Tom Price, South Hedland and so on," Power said.

"We'd always give that a priority but outside of that if there were opportunities we would certainly look at that."

Earlier this year Fortescue reached an internal Indigenous target, awarding more than $1 billion in contracts to Indigenous businesses before the end of 2013.

FMG originally set the goal in December 2011, and since that time has awarded 102 contracts and subcontracts to more than 50 businesses for its 'Billion Opportunities' program.


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