Karara Mining has launched a scholarship program at schools in the mid-west Western Australian town of Morawa to encourage students to take up careers in mining.
The scholarships are designed to tailor the candidates’ studies towards earning a mechanical apprenticeship to work on the nearby $1.8 billion Karara iron ore project.
The program will be offered to two senior school students each from Morawa District High School and WA College of Agriculture Morawa.
The company hopes the scholarships will help to address the skills shortage in the region and provide new employment opportunities for the local community.
The will be offered a mechanical apprenticeship upon the successful completion of Year 12.
The company said it would cover a “significant proportion” of the students’ school fees for the duration of the scholarship.
“We have launched this scholarship programme to help local school students complete the study and training that is required to take advantage of this very significant long-term employment opportunity,” Karara chief operating officer Stephen Murdoch said.
“In addition, we recognise that many local kids feel the need to move to Perth or other regional centres when they finish school to pursue employment.
“We hope this scholarship programme will encourage some of them stay in the mid-west.
“We see this as a positive and proactive step towards building the skills and human resources available in the mid-west region, which in the long-term will benefit Karara and benefit communities like Morawa.”
Karara Mining is a 50-50 joint venture between iron ore producer Gindalbie Metals and Chinese steel and iron ore company AnSteel.
The company said the operation could generate an estimated 600 new direct and indirect jobs in the mid-west, as well as more than 1500 jobs during construction.
It could also provide annual export revenues from stage one of around $1 billion and around $630 million in capital contributions to upgrade regional infrastructure.
First production from the mine is expected in mid-2011.