- WesTrac Geraldton facility to carry out heavy machinery rebuilds from Rio Tinto's Pilbara mining operations
- Arrangement negotiated by State Government through the Mid West Development Commission to support regional jobs
- Project will support new apprenticeships
Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan has welcomed the rebuild of Rio Tinto's Pilbara-based heavy machinery at the WesTrac Geraldton facility today as a major boost for the Mid-West's mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.
The project was negotiated between the State Government through the Mid West Development Commission and industry after feasibility studies identified that WesTrac's Perth and Pilbara facilities were at capacity and unable to accommodate the additional repairs and maintenance required by Rio's mining operations.
The Geraldton facility will receive up to 12 dozer rebuilds annually, from various Pilbara operations, with up to 54 machines committed between 2021 and 2025.
WesTrac is one of the largest private sector employers of apprentices in Western Australia, and the project will support two new, localised apprenticeship opportunities in the Mid-West as well as creating new local skilled jobs and providing pathways to employment with Rio Tinto.
Additionally, the project reduces transport times and negates logistical difficulties mining companies face getting heavy machinery in and out of the metropolitan area.
The State will look to expand the initiative into a cross-regional Smart Specialisation project with linkages to the Kimberley and Goldfields regions, using the Mid-West as a demonstration pilot.
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"This is a fantastic initiative that will see more work carried out in our regional centres, rather than shifting to Perth.
"It confirms that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regionally-based METS facilities, but in fact an advantage.
"Developing capability in mining services will help to diversify and grow Geraldton's economy, providing long-term jobs for local people.
"We hope this pilot sets an example for further cross-regional METS projects."
Comments attributed to Rio Tinto Port, Rail and Core Services Managing Director Richard Cohen:
"Rio Tinto is committed to growing regional Western Australia by supporting jobs and training opportunities for local people. Regional investment initiatives like the METS project will deliver ongoing benefits to the local economy.
"The METS project will generate opportunities for local apprentices to develop and expand their skills and potential pathways for employment with Rio Tinto.
"By unlocking the capabilities of the Geraldton WesTrac branch, we are significantly reducing transport time by removing the roughly 900-kilometre round trip to Perth.
"This will lower costs, improve productivity and reduce the risk of driving related incidents that can occur on congested metropolitan roads."
Comments attributed to Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton:
"Geraldton is a great place to live and work. I am excited to see more employment opportunities coming to our community.
"We are already a regional hub for the mining and construction sectors, and this will build on our local capacity.
"I would like to congratulate the Mid West Development Commission for all their hard work on getting this project off the ground and add my thanks to Westrac, Rio Tinto and the McGowan Labor Government for helping to bring these specialist METS roles to our city."
Minister's office - 6552 6200