Rio Tinto’s emphasis on working in partnership with host communities is demonstrated in its support of more than 480 community initiatives in 2018.
This included a $2.4 million investment in a regional mine training centre to support the first Aboriginal-owned and operated mine in Australia.
This investment will also support the first development of a Yolngu workforce to support other industries.
Another initiative provided $2 million in seed funding to the Developing East Arnhem initiative and up to 250 housing assets to attract and drive economic diversification across the region.
Rio Tinto also maintains the Nhulunbuy Township and airport and provides essential services to the town and surrounding communities.
Fly-in, fly-out arrangements from Geraldton, Carnarvon, Broome, Derby, Albany and Meekatharra have enabled 275 Indigenous workers to continue to live on country and work at Rio Tinto’s operations in Western Australia.
Newcrest Telfer mine has a strong focus on Indigenous training and employment as part of its broader Community Relations program.
Telfer’s unique program has continued to evolve since its beginnings in 2002 when the mine, together with the Martu people (the traditional land owners of the area surrounding Telfer), identified training and employment as a key opportunity for Martu to benefit from Telfer’s operations.
Given Telfer’s isolation (about 450km from the nearest major town, Port Hedland), access by Indigenous people from the North to employment and training opportunities is challenging.
Telfer’s Community Relations team works closely with local community coordinators and regional job employment services, including Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation and Kimberley Employment Services, to help identify interested Indigenous candidates.
The mine’s Community representatives regularly visit remote communities, travelling up to 1000km at a time to meet with potential candidates and local community members to discuss opportunities for training and employment in Telfer.
The development of a local skills register is an important component of the Telfer identification and recruitment process. Telfer’s Community team also helps candidates to obtain birth certificates or statutory declarations, or arranging pre-employment medicals, police clearances and other necessary paperwork.
Telfer aims to provide employment opportunities after training because that is what will benefit community members and families the most. Past training programs include pre-employment entry, machinery operation, security, hospitality and pesticides use.
Telfer has also committed to fulfil eight full-time training program positions each year, spread throughout the mine. This specific Martu training program provides long-term training opportunities with a guaranteed role at the conclusion of the program.
The program offers a variety of roles currently, including fixed plant maintenance, area coordinators, ore processing technicians, warehouse roles and roles in the environment department.
Telfer currently has just over 90 full-time Indigenous employees. Many of them drive in and out via Telfer’s remote travel program. This number is growing rapidly and the team is soon expecting to reach 100 full-time Indigenous employees.
Global mining company Newmont’s three Australian assets include the Tanami mine in the remote Tanami Desert of Northern Australia.
The mine and plant are located on Aboriginal freehold land that is owned by the Warlpiri people and managed by the Central Desert Aboriginal Trust. The site is the most remote in Australia, with the closest communities of Yuendumu and Lajamanu approximately 257km south and 327km north east of the mine.
Newmont’s Tanami operations have contributed nearly $374 million to the economy through procurement, payroll taxes, government royalties, land use payments and community projects.
Aboriginal people made up approximately 13 per cent of its workforce – or more than 100 workers – in 2017.
Partnering with Traditional Owners
Newmont has a dedicated community relations team on site at its Tanami Operations to encourage dialogue with all stakeholders.
Newmont’s significant community development program includes support for the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation, Charles Darwin University scholarships and the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust.
In 2016 Newmont, the Central Land Council (CLC) and Yapa developed a guide for working together to achieve stronger outcomes for Yapa. This plan (Granites-Kurra Ten Year Plan) was reviewed and endorsed by traditional owners and CLC regional delegates in June 2017.
The plan articulates outcomes that the CLC, Newmont and Yapa can achieve to strengthen Yapa voice, employment and education in the Tanami region.
BHP has a strong commitment to supporting Indigenous businesses to develop, grow and diversify, as demonstrated by its award of $350 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses between 2013 and 2015.
Tailored approaches are also taken to support Indigenous business enterprises in regional areas.
This includes BHP’s Indigenous Business Support program which provides free, expert financial, commercial strategic advice to Pilbara Traditional Owner businesses.
More than 120 businesses had accessed the program by the end of 2016.
A number of MCA member companies support the Clontarf Foundation, which improves the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equips them to participate meaningfully in society.
Since opening its first Academy for 25 boys in 2000 the Foundation has grown to cater for over 6,500 boys in 97 schools across Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The Foundation believes that failure to experience achievement when young, coupled with a position of under-privilege can lead to alienation, anger and more serious consequences. As a prelude to tackling these and other issues, participants are first provided with an opportunity to succeed and in turn raise their self-esteem.
The vehicle for achieving this outcome is Australian Rules and/or Rugby League programs delivered through a network of football academies established in partnership with local schools. Any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander male enrolled at the school is eligible to participate in the Clontarf Academy.
Full-time, locally-based Clontarf staff mentor and counsel students on a range of behavioural and lifestyle issues while the school caters for their educational needs. Using a comprehensive approach of supportive relationships, a welcoming environment, and a diverse range of activities, the students develop improved self-esteem and confidence.
With these mechanisms in place year-to-year retention is not less than 90% and school attendance rates are greater than 80%. In areas where Clontarf exists there has been evidence of reduced crime rates in the community.
Upon completing the programme, graduates are helped to find employment, with many graduates securing jobs in the mining industry. Specialist Employment Officers are engaged to do this and provide support until graduates become comfortable with their new jobs and surroundings.
Funding for the Foundation’s programs is provided in equal parts from the Federal Government, State and Territory Governments and the private sector.