Rio Tinto flies former Gunns workers to its Pilbara mine sites

By @ibtimesau on

More than half of Gunns Ltd workers who were axed when the timber company closed down its Manjimup project on February found new careers as fly-in fly-out miners, thanks to Rio Tinto Ltd.

The mining giant has so far absorbed 24 employees from 44 Gunns workers who lost their jobs, with the rest of the laid off forest workers looking at bright prospect of being hired as well, with Rio Tinto declaring on Friday that up to 50 job slots would be made available for workers in the Manjimup-Pemberton region ever the next few months.

Western Australian Agriculture Minister Terry Redman praised Rio Tinto for its actions, which gave new opportunities for the displaced Gunns workers as he reported that Manjimup could reinvent itself as a workforce source for miners' fly-in fly-out work scheme.

Redman told ABC that "a whole range of groups and companies are coming in to town to look at the potential of Manjimup to be a source of workers for the mining sector and indeed to help people stay living where they are, bring a sense of economy back into that community."

Rio Tinto representative Joanne Farrell said that the mining firm would continue scouting for more workers from the region and the thought of flying to the work sites in the Pilbara region is being studied by company officials.

Farrell said that at present, Rio Tinto is considering a number of factors in implementing the arrangements such as "the right numbers to look at bringing on planes, what are the airport conditions and also what does the local community think about planes flying in and out."

A worker recently recruited by Rio Tinto from the Gunns ruins told ABC that he was simply happy to have found a new job following his previous company's closure and the prospect of frequent flying and travelling was not an issue for him.