SAFE TALK: Project We Care director John Whitten speaks to Rio Tinto Yarwun employees and UGL staff for the safeTALK training
SAFE TALK: Project We Care director John Whitten speaks to Rio Tinto Yarwun employees and UGL staff for the safeTALK training Contributed

Donations to good cause during Yarwun shut down

RIO Tinto and UGL Limited will each donate $100 to Gladstone charity Project We Care for every safe day of Rio Tinto Yarwun's scheduled shutdown beginning today.

A section of Rio Tinto Yarwun's alumina refinery will start the scheduled shutdown which is expected to last about 50 days and could result in up to $10,000 going to the charity.

Project We Care, a Gladstone Port Curtis Rotary Club initiative, provides training on mental health including suicide intervention.

It's not the first time the major Gladstone industries have been involved with the charity, with superintendents from Rio Tinto and UGL Limited attending the safeTALK program to improve suicide awareness in the workplace.

Rio Tinto Yarwun general manager Mark Gilmore said: "We are proud of this initiative demonstrating how working together can benefit our people, contractors and community."

Project We Care director John Whitten said the decision to donate to the charity came as a surprise to him.

Mr Whitten said it was important to deliver the SafeTALK program to staff of UGL and Rio Tinto.

"Everyone at the course was very concerned about suicide and they want to help," he said.

"And to help you need to know the skills and have the skills to help, so it was important to get them on side."

Mr Whitten said donations would provide the charity with funding for next year.

Last year, the charity trained 800 high school students and 400 residents.

It aims to reach this number again this year.

Mr Whitten said the organisation aimed to reduce suicide rates through education.

"That's why we call it Project We Care, because it's all about caring about other people," he said.

"That's what our safeTALK is all about: it teaches people how to spot the signs first and what the signs are, and then how to approach it."