Caval Ridge Mine, west of Mackay.
Caval Ridge Mine, west of Mackay. Lee Constable

Mining giants back FIFO for 'efficiency' and 'progress'

MORE than 92% of 603 fly-in, fly-out staff at Caval Ridge and Daunia mines are happy with the practice, BHP Billiton has told a parliamentary inquiry.

The mining giant's written submission to the Queensland Government inquiry into FIFO in regional areas said offering a choice between living locally and FIFO practices was not that simple.

The company said it would damage the mines' operational efficiency and erode progress.

BHP Billiton said it decided to make Caval Ridge and Daunia, near Moranbah in central Queensland's Bowen Basin, FIFO mines because of insufficient local labour and housing.

"The key benefits of FIFO relate to the ability to source our employees from a bigger pool from different areas of Queensland," the submission said.


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It also condemned the usage of the term 100% FIFO.

"It is misleading in that what this refers to is only the operational proportion of the total employment at the site," the submission said.

"Our records show that during February 2015 around 1000 visits to Caval Ridge and Daunia mines were made by locally based employees of our contractors."

The company said it valued the communities near its mines and provided infrastructure and supported local health, childcare facilities, education and training activities.

Rio Tinto said in a submission although it did not operate 100% FIFO mines in Queensland, any move to limit FIFO or drive-in, drive-out practices would seriously impact the sector's ability to meet its labour needs and in some cases threaten project viability.

Mining tycoon Gina Rinehart and her Indian partner's joint company GVK Hancock is standing by its plan for its Alpha Coal Project in the Galilee Basin to be predominantly FIFO, with 20-30% bus-in, bus-out for those living regionally.

In its written submission, it said it would be impossible to commence significant operations in remote regional areas without using long-distance commuting. 

Public hearings

Monday June 15, 2015

Mackay 9-11am

Mackay Grande Suites, 9 Gregory St, Mackay

Moranbah 4-6pm

Moranbah Workers Club, 49 Mills Ave, Moranbah

Tuesday June 16, 2015

Dysart 9-11am

Dysart Civic Centre, 16 Queen Elizabeth Dr, Dysart

Middlemount 2.30-4.30pm

Middlemount Bowls Club, 89 Centenary Dr, Middlemount

Wednesday June 17, 2015

Emerald 9-11am

Mayfair Ridge Tavern, Cnr Gregory Hwy &

Mayfair Dr, Emerald

Blackwater 2.15-4.15pm

Blackwater Civic Centre, 20 Blain St, Blackwater

Thursday June 18, 2015

Moura 9-11am

Coal n Cattle, 63 Dawson Hwy, Moura

Gladstone 3-5pm

Oaks Grand Hotel, 79 Goondoon St, Gladstone

Friday June 19, 2015

Rockhampton 10-noon

Travelodge Rockhampton, 86 Victoria Pde, Rockhampton