WA police continue search of FIFO workers for drugs

Western Australian Police have continued their attack on drugs in the workplace, commencing the second phase of Operation Redwater with searches of Pilbara Airstrips used by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto on Wednesday and Thursday.

The West Australian reported that although sniffer dogs registered positive indications, no illicit substances were found.

In October 2014 WA police discovered a large quantity of methylamphetamine, scales and cash in a donga room at the Fortescue Metals Group-run Hamilton workers’ camp.

In November an FMG executive said to Port Hedland business leaders that there was a drug problem in the FMG workforce.

Operation Redwater was launched in December 2014, and began with police visits to three FMG minesites, which failed to reveal any illicit substances.

Police denied that Operation Redwater was launched in response to the FMG camp drug bust and related prosecution of a 31 year old worker.

Regional WA Police commander Murray Smalpage said the second phase of Operation Redwater was held in partnership with major mining companies.

Both BHP and Rio Tinto have emphasised their support for Operation Redwater, and their zero-tolerance policies on drug use.

“Working closely with the WA Police, we have supported their operation to identify and eliminate instances of drug use in the Pilbara, including facilitating recent searches at the Barimunya and Coondewanna airstrips, which service our Yandi and Mining Area C mines,” a spokesperson for BHP said.

Image: WA Police

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