Recruiters have turned to Townsville to fill about 200 labour hire roles at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Saraji and Peak Downs coal operations in the Bowen Basin.
BMA confirmed the first plane load of about 40 FIFO workers from Townsville would arrive on a charter flight to Moranbah tomorrow to start work on Thursday.
“They will be working prestrip at the two mines moving dirt. They will be mobile equipment operators,” a company spokesman said.
The BMA spokesman said the 200 positions that labour hire providers were sourcing out of Townsville were among a raft of roles they had been trying to fill for some time, and that recruitment efforts were continuing in local areas for further operators.
“Labour hire providers have identified Townsville as having numerous suitable candidates,” he said.
“In the State Government’s 2016 budget update, the Townsville region was identified as having one of the highest unemployment rates in regional Queensland.
“We believe initiatives aimed at expanding the number of people securing employment opportunities in the mining sector are an important way of continuing to strengthen our operations.”
Those recruited are non-permanent workers on fixed contracts rather than full-time BMA staff, with most of the jobs being for haul truck operators.
“This is by no means cutting off the local market, it’s just casting the net wider to try and recruit in Townsville as well,” the spokesman said.
The company is aware of individuals driving to the sites from Townsville in the past for work, but the new recruitment arrangement includes introduction of a QantasLink service between the city and Moranbah.
“From a safety perspective, we would much rather see people doing it this way,” the spokesman said.
The recruitment effort comes as prestrip activity at the BMA mines surges following the wet season and activity generally ramps up as coal prices improve.
Resource Industry Network chair Tony Caruso described the recruitment push as great news for the Mackay region and a sign of BMA’s confidence in the future of the sector
“QRC statistics show that for every full-time role at a mine there are four to five support roles as a flow-on. Mackay is the premier resource services hub in Queensland so the prize for us is these flow-on roles that come from this industry expansion,” he said.