New Century Resources has awarded what has been described as a landmark contract to the Waanyi ReGen Joint Venture (WRJV) to provide training services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people local to the Century zinc mine in Queensland.
The Century mine is rapidly moving towards becoming a producing operation again under New Century’s ownership, with the milestone expected to be reached in third quarter 2018.
New Century has forecast the mine will be one of the top 10 zinc producing operations in the world once it has been ramped up to full capacity.
WRJV is a 50-50 JV between Waanyi Enterprises and Downer EDI, and represents the interests of the traditional owners in the area and the contract company’s mining services division.
The training contract, in addition to providing broad community training and upskilling programs, will involve a strategy to prepare potential employees for specific operational roles at the Century mine.
According to New Century, the program also addresses obligations outlined in the Native Title Agreement for the Century mining leases, which will be reinvigorated as production starts.
New Century believes the training contract represents another step forward in the strengthening of its relationship with WRJV, which since July 2016 has been actively carrying out care and maintenance, and rehabilitation activities at the mine.
Patrick Walta, New Century managing director, said the delivery of training services by the JV would ensure the Century mine continued to deliver focused benefits for the communities surrounding the operation long into the future.
“New Century hopes that its arrangements with the Waanyi ReGen JV will become a model for the empowerment of local Aboriginal people throughout the mining industry,” Walta said.
Waanyi PBC chairman and WRJV director Alec Doomadgee said the contract signalled the dawn of a new era in the Gulf.
He explained it was the first time in the Lower Gulf region’s history that a contract of this nature had been awarded to Traditional Owners of land where mining occurred.
“This is what Aboriginal self-determination and independence looks like, as we now have genuine pathways for our people to become self-sufficient and to determine their own future,” Doomadgee said.
“We are training tomorrow’s leaders of the Gulf on our own land, and I look forward to watching them grow to become masters of their own future.”
New Century’s had already strengthened its relationship with WRJV prior to awarding the training contract. The two parties entered into a collaboration agreement last September that would see WRJV assess the feasibility of open cut operations at the Century mine.