Indigenous-owned mine and training centre opens in NT

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The Gumatj Corporation has opened a bauxite mine and training centre with the support of Rio Tinto.

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The Gulkula Regional Training Centre and Gulkala bauxite mine are 100 percent owned by the Gumatj clan. The Gumatj Corporation works to build sustainable local industries to benefit the local Yolgnu people.

The mine and training centre are located on the Dhupuma Plateau in north-east Arnhem Land. The training centre is adjacent to the small-scale bauxite operation and will deliver on-the-job training for participants.

The training centre was established with a $2.4 million contribution from Rio Tinto, along with funding from the Gumatj Corporation as well as the Australian and Northern Territory governments.

Gumatj Corporation CEO Klaus Helms says it was a significant day for local Yolgnu people and Indigenous Australians everywhere.

"The commencement of a 100 percent Indigenous-owned training centre and mining operation is a testament to what Indigenous people can achieve working in partnership with business and government – this a major step forward in building a sustainable future for our local people," Helms says.

"With Rio Tinto’s support, Yolngu people can now receive on-the-job training through Gumatj mining operations. The skills they develop will open up opportunities for them to build careers in the mining industry in the Northern Territory and beyond."

In addition to providing financial support to the project, Rio Tinto has also committed to purchase bauxite from the new operation. Representatives from the company say they are delighted to see projects driven by local Yolgnu people come to fruition.

"As a result of this training centre even more local Indigenous people will be able to build long-term careers in the mining industry," Rio Tinto operations managing director Bruce Cox says.

"We hope to see increased Indigenous participation at our own Gove bauxite mine as participants move on from the centre and into the workforce.

"Rio Tinto is very pleased to see our local partnerships evolve as we take on a new role as a customer of the Gulkula mine. We remain committed to supporting initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the Northeast Arnhem Land community now and into the future," Bruce adds.


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