The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the announcement of a new joint venture that, if approved, could develop a new bauxite mine and create hundreds of new jobs in Far North Queensland.
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the agreement for Mitsubishi Development to acquire a 30 percent interest in Glencore’s Aurukun Bauxite project has the potential to breathe new life into Queensland’s jobs market, creating up to 250 jobs over a two-year construction period and 400 jobs when the mine enters production.
He said if the project met its regulatory approvals, it would drive economic growth at a time Queensland needed to work and earn its way through COVID.
“This is a substantial investment by QRC member companies, Mitsubishi Development and Glencore, and a huge vote of confidence in Queensland’s resources sector,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“The announcement is also the continuation of a longstanding, historic and successful partnership between Japan and Queensland that has delivered enormous benefits to our state over five decades, particularly to regional areas in the form of long-term, well-paid jobs.”
“Glencore is also a longstanding and successful investor in the Queensland mining sector, in both coal and metals, and is an ideal partner in this project.”
Mr Macfarlane welcomed the potential for the joint venture to reduce carbon emissions, with bauxite a key ingredient in aluminium that can be recycled and is used every day in homes and workplaces, in cars, trains, automobiles and boats, and in cooking and packaging.
He said the potential increase in jobs for Indigenous communities in the region was another major benefit.
“Queensland’s resources sector is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the state,” he said.
“If this project receives the necessary approvals, based on our sector’s track record of leading the way in increasing the number of Indigenous men and women in our workforce, it will provide long-term benefits to communities in the far north and beyond.”
Mr Macfarlane said Queensland’s resources sector had recorded a 45 percent increase in Indigenous participation in its workforce over the past five years (since 2016-17), and a 20 percent jump in Indigenous participation over the past financial year (2019-20).
“These latest figures from an annual, independent survey of our members show just how seriously resources companies take their responsibility to improve diversity in our sector and strengthen our social licence to operate,” he said.
“We are proud of the fact resources is the only industry in Queensland where the employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people exceeds their proportional share of the Queensland population.
“Direct Indigenous employment in our industry now sits at 4.8 percent of our workforce, compared with Queensland’s Indigenous population of 4 percent, and 3 percent nationally, so we are leading the way in this area,” he said.
“Given yesterday was National Close the Gap Day, and the 46th anniversary of Australia’s first Aboriginal state parliamentarian’s maiden speech to the Queensland Parliament, the resources sector is very pleased to be able to report these outcomes.”