Article – Rio Tinto-funded training centre to help Aboriginal miners, Gumatj Corporation says

2 August 2014
James Dunlevie
ABC News
A new Rio Tinto-funded training centre aimed at supporting the creation of a mining venture operated by Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land has been announced.
In a statement, the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal Gumatj Corporation said the new centre, to be established with $2.4 million in funding from the mining giant, would provide training for the local Yolngu people,
Such training was an important step towards the creation of a bauxite mining operation to be run by the Gumatj clan at Dhupuma Plateau, it said.
“Our aim is to create a sustainable, Indigenous-owned business that will deliver long-term economic benefits for the Yolngu people,” Gumatj Deputy Chairman Djawa Yunupingu said.
“This training centre will help Yolngu develop the skills to work in mines across the Northern Territory, through on-the-job training within Gumatj mining operations.
“It will be available to Aboriginal people throughout the Northern Territory who wish to learn skills in the mining industry.
“With the support of Rio Tinto, we are making considerable progress towards this mining operation. The Gulkula Mining Company has now submitted its Exploration Licence and Mine Management Plan, with an exploration program starting next month to prove up the quantity and quality of the reserves.”
Construction on the centre is expected to start in 2015.
In March 2014, Rio announced the closure of its Gove alumina refinery, with an expected loss of around 1,000 jobs in the community of around 4,000 people.
In July, Rio announced it expected bauxite production and export capacity at Gove to increase by the end of 2015 following upgrades to export infrastructure.
Centre a ‘catalyst for Yolngu people to develop life skills’: Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto managing director Australia Phil Edmands said Rio Tinto was pleased to strengthen its partnership with the Yolngu people.
“Rio Tinto will continue to be a part of the Northeast Arnhem Land community into the future through its bauxite mine at Gove,” he said.
“We believe this training centre will be an important catalyst for Yolngu people across the region to develop the life skills and training needed to establish successful careers in the mining industry.
Mt Edmunds said Rio were working to increase the level of Indigenous participation in the workforce at the Gove bauxite mine.
“This is a project being driven by Yolngu people to shape their own futures, and we are proud to be able to support them in this endeavour,” he said.
The announcement of the training centre follows the opening of the new Garma Knowledge Centre at Gulkula on Friday.
Courtesy of ABC News