Mine boss allays job fears

Zoe KeenanMidwest Times
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A mining chief says there are more mineral resources to be found at Golden Grove mine near Yalgoo and his company will increase production while maintaining its workforce from previous management.

Melbourne-based mining company EMR Capital recently bought the mine, which produced 38,128 tonnes of zinc and 12,194 tonnes of copper in 2016.

Currently, 22 per cent of Golden Grove miners fly in from Geraldton and about 380 workers fly from Perth.

Operations general manager Duncan Bradford said under EMR management, worker numbers would remain the same as when the mine was owned by MMG Limited.

“We’re touching on 500 people on site on various rosters, which we’re still finalising at this stage but there’s no plan at all to stop he Geraldton flights. They will continue,” he said.

In the process, EMR has changed the remaining full-time underground employees at the mine onto contracts, which chief executive Ian Smith said aimed to make it easier to co-ordinate work and would bring in new equipment.

“The situation when we took over was that the majority of people underground were already contractors, but there was a whole list of contractors,” he said.

“So we swapped the remaining employees underground to one primary contractor, which is Byrnecut. It’s very hard to work with a whole host of different contractors — it’s hard to get it all co-ordinated so we went to one primary contractor.

“One of the selection criteria for that contractor was that they had access to new equipment faster than what we could get access to, so basically what we’re doing is putting a new fleet underground.”

He said the company would continue its relationship with Geraldton-based Central Earthmoving, which provides on-site services such as roadworks and rock breaking.

“We’ll also continue with Craig Patterson, the CEO of Centrals, with the indigenous training program that’s currently under way,” Mr Bradford said.

“Depending on the success this year, we’ll be looking at possibly two indigenous training programs next year.”

Mr Smith said he was confident by lifting exploration, the company could extend the resources to give the mine greater longevity and sustainability.

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