Spanish and African workers keen on mining jobs

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While ten workers from Spain have joined Xstrata Zinc, members of the African community in Darwin say they fear they are being overlooked for mining jobs.

According to the North West Star Xstrata Zinc’s ten skilled workers arrived in Mount Isa this week to fill diesel fitter, auto electrician, fitter, and boilermaker vacancies.

Xstrata Zinc Australia chief operating officer Brain Hearne told the North West Star the company looked to Spain following “a lack of local and national candidates”.

He said the positions attracted more than 3,000 applications, and while employing local workers was a priority for Xstrata the company needed to “explore every opportunity” to find the best workers.

Hearne said skills shortages remained one of Xstrata’s “biggest challenges,” and the new applicants had fulfilled all of the company’s requirements and were proficient in English.

While resources giants are increasingly looking overseas to find workers Northern Territory African Community Council president Edward Solo told the ABC local refugees were an unused labour resource.

Solo said many African refugees had trained for new careers in Australia after their qualifications were not recognised internationally.

He said there were around 2,000 people of African origin in Darwin keen to find mining jobs, and resources companies should focus recruiting efforts locally instead of overseas.

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