Recruitment for MMG’s new Dugald River zinc mine will ramp up from the end of March as the construction phase peaks and attention turns to commissioning and production.
Dugald River operations manager Sam Rodda said process plant operators, maintenance workers and other support staff would be among the first operational roles advertised.
“It’s important we start to identify our future operations people to be part of the commissioning aspect of our project,” he said.
The $US600 million-plus project, 65km north-west of Cloncurry, was 45 per cent complete by the end of 2016 and remains on target for first concentrate production in the first half of 2018.
Mr Rodda said the construction workforce was expected to peak around 500 in the next few months and the site’s operational workforce would be about 350-400 from next year.
Ostwald Brothers completed the site village in late 2016 and work is continuing on the processing plant, with mechanical completion of that element expected mid-year.
It will produce about 170,000 tonnes of zinc in zinc concentrate per annum, to be delivered by road to Cloncurry and then railed to Townsville.
“We’re also finalising construction on a tailings storage facility, which is due to be complete around March,” Mr Rodda said.
Work was starting on non-process infrastructure such as the heavy vehicle workshop, a warehouse and the site laboratory, he said.
Major works to be completed by the end of 2017 include the underground mine’s paste fill plant, connecting the site’s high-voltage powerline to the grid and completion of piping, cabling and instrumentation in the zinc processing plant.
Mr Rodda said work on the decline was well advanced, with ore stoping expected to begin from June.
“Barminco has been our underground mining contractor for five and a half years and they’ve recently been awarded a five-year extension for Dugald River,” he said.
“We’re about 400m underground, with access into our ore due in the middle of this year.”
The State Government last year announced that it was giving Dugald River ‘prescribed project’ status to fast-track the approvals process and MMG confirmed final financing for the operation in June.
The timing has been good, according to Mr Rodda, who said the company had been able to establish the mine in the middle of a downturn – helping it draw top-shelf construction partners and personnel to establish a high-quality project.
It also allowed them to transport major components to site before the wet season.
Current market trends indicate things will also fall in place for the mine to be coming into production when zinc metal prices are predicted to be at a recent high.
Want to work at Dugald River?
Recruitment for operational positions will start in the second quarter of this year.
Roles will be advertised on the MMG website at www.mmg.com/Careers as well as through newspapers and employment sites.
MMG also has a registration point for local and State-based businesses wishing to supply the operation.
Mr Rodda said the company would refer to this database as it looked at its service, support and purchasing options throughout this year.
“Our preference, where it fits, will be to support local,” he said.
Businesses can register through the MMG website at http://www.mmg.com/en/About-Us/Suppliers.aspx.
Mount Isa or Cloncurry-based businesses can email email@example.com with the subject title: DRM Supplier Registration – [company name].