Rio Amrun contract boosts Aboriginal employment opportunities

NHDS employees ready for work at the Amrun project

A contract awarded by Rio Tinto at the Amrun bauxite project in North Queensland has led to an Indigenous-owned business creating 25 jobs for local Aboriginal people.

Weipa-based Northern Haulage and Diesel Services (NHDS) was awarded the contract to perform general services including administrative, labour and construction support at the site.

Fifteen local Aboriginal people have commenced work on-site with another 10 expected to mobilise this month. The contract is expected to run until construction is completed at the end of 2018.

Rio Tinto Amrun project director Marcia Hanrahan said a real driver in delivering general services for the project was to maximise employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people.

“At present almost 80 per cent of the Amrun workforce are Queenslanders including 176 Indigenous employees of which 43 are local Aboriginal people,” Hanrahan said.

“We are delighted NHDS has been awarded a contract under our general services scope. We were impressed with NHDS’ expertise and commitment to supporting the local community with jobs.”

With the new mine starting commissioning and other operational activities next year, the business is seeking pathways to ensure longer-term employment opportunities for the project’s Indigenous employees.

NHDS co-owner Darrin Savo said the company was approached to extend its services at Amrun while working on Rio’s existing mines on Western Cape York.

“This is an exciting opportunity not only because it is a chance to grow our business but also given the strong focus on employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people,” Savo said.

“It would have been easy for Rio Tinto to wrap up the work we are doing on to the project into the scope of a bigger contractor.

“By working as a partnership we’ve been able to develop a scope that works for us, the project and the local community. This really demonstrates Rio Tinto’s support of local Aboriginal business and employment.”

Rio plans to launch production and shipping from Amrun in the first half of 2019, ramping up to full production by the end of the year.

Once operational, Amrun will help to support ongoing employment for the existing workforce of around 1400 employees and contractors at Rio’s Cape York bauxite operations.