PATRICK Malone, an elder of the Western Kangoulu people, traditional owners of the area around Kestrel Mine, has credited a Rio Tinto Indigenous recruitment campaign for bringing members of his people back to country.
Malcolm Brown, Darryn Nimock, Harrison Blair and Matthew Malone moved from various Queensland locations last month to take up traineeships at the underground coal mine.
“Since the turn of the last century, Western Kangoulu people have been moving off our land, off country,” said Mr Malone, one of the area’s native title claim applicants.
“Through a targeted recruitment campaign, Kestrel Mine has provided training opportunities that have attracted these men back to their traditional roots.
“The traineeships will up-skill our people, bring more wealth into our community and provide us with access to the benefits of mining.
“The arrangement is also helping to strengthen ties between us, as the traditional owners of the land and Rio Tinto.”
Employed by local training provider, MRAEL, Mr Brown and Mr Nimock are both working at Kestrel Mine’s warehouse, undertaking a Certificate 2 and Certificate 3 respectively in Warehousing. In the coal handling and preparation plant, Mr Blair and Mr Malone are both working towards a Certificate 2 in Resource Processing.
Mr Brown said he hoped the traineeships, which go for 18 months, will set him and his new colleagues up for a career in mining.
“Mining is something I have wanted to get into, so I hope this traineeship helps me secure a permanent job in the mining industry,” Mr Brown said.
“I also have a lot of family and friends in the area, so I’m looking forward to moving my family up here before the end of the year.
“I hope to immerse myself in the local community by joining some sporting teams.”
Rio Tinto Coal Australia Central Queensland Human Resources manager, Daryl Calvert, said recent efforts to boost Indigenous employment are part of the company’s broader Aboriginal Employment Strategy.
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