Clermont airport lands upgrade

COAL mining company Rio Tinto Coal Australia is to fund a $4.5 million upgrade of Clermont aerodrome.

Rio Tinto will spend $4 million on upgrading the landing strip, which it has been using for the last 18 months to transport fly-in fly-out workers at Clermont mine.

“Larger planes have damaged the landing strip, which was originally designed for smaller planes,” explained Isaac Regional Council Mayor Cedric Marshall.

“Once it has been upgraded it will be able to handle 35-seater planes.”

Rio Tinto will also fund a $500,000 upgrade of the airport’s terminal buildings.

“Council will retain ownership and control of the airport,” said Cr Marshall.

“We want construction to start as soon as possible and with Rio Tinto managing the upgrade, it should speed up the process.

“We really need the upgrade completed before the next wet season.”

Cr Marshall said the airport upgrade would be a win for the community and Rio Tinto.

“I think it’s excellent. It means that residents will have an upgraded airport,” he said.

“It also means if there are emergencies in the area, the emergency services know there is a reliable landing strip they can use.”

A Rio Tinto spokesperson said the company was pleased to work with the Isaac council on the upgrade.

“These improvements will increase the airport’s safety for all users,” the spokesperson told Central Queensland News.

“There are many people in the community who rely on the continued operation of this airport, and we are pleased to be able to show this commitment to our continuing operations and future in the Clermont region by investing in this important infrastructure.

“Rio Tinto Coal Australia has accommodation policies designed to encourage residential take-up.

“We have a long-term commitment that at least 50 per cent of the Clermont mine’s workforce – when the mine is at full production – will live residentially.

“However, there is still a large percentage of our workforce who will continue to use the airport.”

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