Rio Tinto has awarded a $70 million bulk earthworks contract to civil engineering company QBirt for the development of mine infrastructure at the Amrun bauxite project in northern Queensland.
At its peak the contract will generate 150 jobs and help support ongoing employment for the existing workforce of 1400 people at Weipa’s bauxite operations, according to Rio Tinto.
Earthworks required for the construction of the project include about 40 kilometres of sealed access roads and a haul road network. Queensland-based QBirt will also develop the mine stockpile zone, tailings and separation ponds and other site infrastructure.
Construction is expected to start in the current quarter and finish by the end of 2018.
Rio Tinto growth and innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said the roads and infrastructure to be developed by QBirt were essential to the future Amrun operation.
“We are very pleased that a Queensland-based business has won this important work ahead of other competitive bidders,” McIntosh said.
“QBirt not only brings more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, but shares our commitment to developing a strong and sustainable safety culture at Amrun.”
The contract extends QBirt’s relationship with Rio Tinto. The Queensland company is currently undertaking construction of a tailings facility at Rio Tinto’s Yarwun alumina refinery and previously constructed 300,000 cubed metres of embankment and seven kilometres of mine haul roads at the Weipa bauxite mine.
QBirt managing director Quentin Birt commented: “After the success of our accelerated construction mine haul road network at Weipa, this new Amrun contract only strengthens our long-term relationship with Rio Tinto.”
The Queensland Government welcomed the award of the contract to a local company, adding that the Amrun project would support the continued employment of the workers in Weipa, as well as the 2000 employees at the Yarwun and Queensland Aluminium refineries in Gladstone fed with the bauxite.
“This project builds on Rio Tinto’s long-standing existing operations in Gladstone and Weipa which have supplied the raw product used to produce 10 per cent of the world’s aluminium,” acting state development minister Bill Byrne said.