Mine may sign import labour

WARATAH Coal has acknowledged fly-in, fly-out workers from China, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines may have to be imported for its $8.3 billion mine project.

Interstate migration is another factor identified in attracting the 3500 workers for proposed 21-day on, seven-day off shifts during construction of the mine, 30km north-west of Alpha and the rail line to Abbot Point.

The environmental impact statement said about 300 local residents would find employment during construction and operation of the mine, with the balance sourced from FIFO or DIDO labour.

The Metallurgical Corporation of China will undertake the engineering, procurement, construction and management of the project.

"Given the near full employment levels in Queensland at present, and the well-publicised skill shortage within the construction and mining industries, considerable in-migration will be required to satisfy the workforce requirements," the EIS stated.

"While many workers are expected to move to Queensland from interstate, the sheer number of new projects being developed in Australia, and their scale, means some workers will need to be sourced from overseas.

"Although subject to increasing debate in Australia at present, either an increase in the number of workers entering Australia with mining and construction skills will be required or Queensland will need to accommodate a much larger share of Australia's skilled migrants."

Waratah acknowledged multiple resource projects under way in the Galilee Basin could lead to a 'significant' demographic change with a higher number of non-resident young and middle-aged males in Alpha or at camps nearby.

The higher wages on offer would be reflected in an upward hike in the prices of goods and services locally, the company conceded.

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