Mine workers sourced from east for WA project

Australia’s biggest gold miner is overlooking the traditional mining employment hub of Perth and looking towards the east coast to source its workers.

Newcrest Mining’s new employment concept for staffing its Telfer mine in Western Australia is being seen as the beginning to changes throughout the resources industry.

Workers can now base themselves on the eastern seaboard instead of having to relocate to Perth as they would have previously.

The miner is beginning to recruit fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers not only from capital cities and within WA, but also from regional centres in other states.

Included in the new locations is Orange, in New South Wales’ central west, which is fast becoming a hub for the mining industry.

Newcrest has confirmed that two 100-seater aircraft are being chartered from Alliance Airlines twice a week for flights between Brisbane, Orange and the Telfer gold mine.

Alliance chief executive Scott McMillon told AAP companies are changing the way they recruit workers.

"We are seeing the start of a trend where some of the larger mining houses will recruit in some of the smaller cities on the eastern seaboard and fly them direct into various mines in WA," he said.

"That will be a new style of fly-in fly-out."

There are also plans to source workers from areas with high unemployment rates in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, McMillon said.

But he did concede that flying people such great distances regularly may not be sustainable in the long term.

"There is no doubt there is going to be more and more people flying from the eastern part of Australia to the western part," he said.

"But I think the challenge for everyone involved is that it’s not as if there’s a huge amount of surplus labour sitting around on the eastern side of Australia."

The central west of NSW has been expanding its involvement with the resource sector, with Dubbo campaigning for a $20 million mining school and community support for a charter airline to operate out of the region for FIFO workers.

Earlier in the year, Qantas bought Network Aviation to service the mining industry and other airlines are also looking towards involvement in the lucrative FIFO market.

The work arrangement has faced increased debate as the need for workers on resource projects continued to increase and the skills shortage continues to worsen.

Image: Newcrest Mining


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