Subject to raising finance and approval of its mining management plan, Arafura hopes to start work on construction at the site in 2021, says Arafura managing director, Gavin Lockyer. IMAGE from Arafura's website illustrating rare earths use in car engine.
Arafura Resources is looking at relocating more of its processing for the Nolans Bore Rare Earths Project close to the mine site (pictured) near Aileron, 135 km north of Alice Springs. (Photo courtesy Arafura Resources.)
In The Centre, Newmont Gold Mine is looking to double its intake of Aboriginal workers. Will locals, like Jeffrey Matthews from Lajamanu (at left), respond to the opportunity? He's been at Newmont for nearly three years. He started doing contract work around the mine as part of a program called the YAPA Crew and moved from there into full-time employment with Newmont.
Skills shortages and the resources boom – they're the mantra when it comes to talking about Australian employment opportunities and all levels of government would like to see Indigenous people responding. In Alice Springs Martin Glass is working on "lining up the ducks".
He's a former Commanding Officer of Norforce, northern Australia's Specialist Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment, an Army Reserve unit. That position gave him a lot of experience working with Aboriginal soldiers who are "unbeatable", he says, "when they're well trained and operating in their own country".
The Norforce model is a good one for many Aborigines in remote Australia, says Mr Glass. It's well paid, attractive work for them and while part-time, they can do up to 150 days a year, which makes a real difference financially for them and their families. It might be something that the mining industry could look at, he says, particularly the new mines coming on stream and the various exploration endeavours.
In the meantime, with the backing of his steering committee, he is looking to double within the next 12 months the number of NT locals working at Newmont Gold Mine in the Tanami Desert. The committee is made up of representatives of the three tiers of government and industry, formed as a result of an MOU signed between the Australian Government and the Minerals Council of Australia. KIERAN FINNANE reports.