Mines to employ hundreds

The site of the Dubbo Zirconia Project at Toongi. Photo contributed.
The site of the Dubbo Zirconia Project at Toongi. Photo contributed.

SALARIES offered by Alkane Resources to Dubbo and district residents would be “commensurate with the industry in this region”, reports managing director Ian Chalmers.

Hundreds of jobs will be up for grabs if the state government gives the thumbs up to the company’s Tomingley Gold Project (TGP) and Dubbo Zirconia Project (DZP) at Toongi. In Dubbo this week to consult with the community on the DZP, Mr Chalmers was enthusiastic about providing employment opportunities.

“We think we can employ a lot of people locally and pay people reasonable salaries,” he said.

But he ruled out offering wages that could “drag people back from Western Australia”.

Mr Chalmers reported of “substantial salaries” being paid in the north-west of Western Australia and north Queensland.

The big money was offered to attract workers to remote locations with extreme conditions.

“I’ve worked up in the Pilbara and the Kimberleys of Western Australia,” Mr Chalmers said.

“They’re tough places. The summers there are long and extremely hot... so if a truck driver is being paid $150,000 to $180,000 a year... I say fantastic.”

The TGP is expected to need 200 to 250 workers in its construction phase and 100 when operational.

Corresponding figures for the DZP are 400 and 230.

Alkane Resources will seek to find about 90 per cent of its workforce in Dubbo and district, with the likes of suitably-qualified engineers likely to be sourced from other parts of the region as well as around the nation.

Recently the company hosted a guided tour of its DZP demonstration pilot plant in Sydney for teachers and trainers, with a view to firming up a workforce for decades to come. If approved, the TGP and DZP would operate for at least 10 and 80 years, respectively.

This week the NSW Minerals Council reported that data from the latest Census illustrated how mining was boosting the incomes of families in Orange and other regional areas.

Between 2006 and 2011, average household income growth in Orange rose by 25.61 per cent, compared to 18.7 in NSW and 19.5 nationally.

The council also reported of mining providing 15,600 jobs in the New England, North West and Central West regions.