As our sister site Mining Global recent wrote, Aboriginal landowners have begun construction of a new mining training centre in Arnhem Land with $2.4 million in funding from mining giant Rio Tinto.
The new establishment in the Northern Territory is being created to provide training for indigenous Yolngu people, and is a large step toward establishing a bauxite mining operation that will be overseen by the Gumatj clan at Dhupuma Plateau.
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For many, this is the first step in the process of Yolongu creating their own mining company and helping others in their region find jobs in the mining industry across the Northern Territory.
The four-month training sessions are set to begin in March at a site near the new Garma Knowledge Centre in Gulkula, which is the site of the annual Garma Festival.
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“Our aim is to create a sustainable, Indigenous-owned business that will deliver long-term economic benefits for the Yolngu people,” said Gumatj deputy chairman Djawa Yunupingu. “This training centre will help Yolngu develop the skills to work in mines across the Northern Territory, through on-the-job training within Gumatj mining operations.
“It will be available to Aboriginal people throughout the Northern Territory who wish to learn skills in the mining industry. With the support of Rio Tinto, we are making considerable progress toward this mining operation.”
The center is expected to have the capacity to train up to 24 people at a time, and will help Yolngu people learn new mining skills. It will include sessions in mine rehabilitations, administration and catering, in addition to offering literacy and numeracy sessions.
Rio has been mining bauxite on the northeast tip of Arnhem for over 40 years, and continues to operate a bauxite mine at Gove with approximately 400 workers.
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Rio Tinto president and CEO Bauxite and Alumina Phillip Strachan said, “We’re proud to support this important initiative, wehich is being driven by the local Yolngu community.
“Learning about the business of mining can help further empower Indigenous people in their dealings with mining companies into the future. It has the potential to help stimulate economic development for the local community beyond the life of our Gove bauxite mine.
“We are committed to seeing our operation work closely with the Mining Training Centre, and hope that in time we will see graduates also joining our workforce to increase the representation of Indigenous people.”