Mining and Heavy Industries

WA helps negotiate deal between Rio Tinto and WesTrac

Rio Tinto will rebuild its Pilbara-based heavy machinery at the WesTrac Geraldton facility as part of a project negotiated between the State Government and industry.

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.

The project reduces transport times and negates logistical difficulties mining companies face getting heavy machinery in and out of the metropolitan area. It was negotiated through the Mid West Development Commission.

WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the initiative that will see more work carried out in our regional centres, rather than shifting to Perth.

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“It confirms that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regionally-based METS facilities, but in fact an advantage,” MacTiernan said.

“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.”

WesTrac is one of the largest private sector employers of apprentices in Western Australia, and the project will support two new, localised apprenticeship opportunities.

Rio Tinto Port, Rail and Core Services Managing Director Richard Cohen said the company 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,” Cohen said.

“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.”

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