Copper mining company Copperchem is looking to switch its entire workforce to local employees.
The mine in Cloncurry, east of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland started a local employment programme over a month ago and intends to hire 40 to 50 locals by the end of July.
The company hired 70 fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers at the beginning of the year, the ABC reported.
With the local employees initiative the company intends to decrease costs, Copperchem spokesman Bill Sneath said.
“On a seven-on, seven-off roster you are employing two people to cover one role in a lot of areas,” he said.
“We fly employees from Cairns, Townsville and Brisbane and the cost of airflights and accommodation is quite high now.”
He said the company will provide training for people in the local community.
“A lot are not skilled in the mining industry and for expertise that currently resides outside the local community, the main aspect of getting those people in the local community is housing at an affordable cost,” he said.
Copperchem's move is in contrast to BHP's decision in May to opt for a 100 per cent FIFO workforce instead of hiring the local community in Central Queensland.
The move to hire workers from Cairns and Brisbane outraged locals, the unions and the mining community.
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance's Daunia mine is expected to have its 450 FIFO workers by the end of June, which has also angered a lot of locals.