Mining company Xstrata has said there has been a 20% increase in the number of workers choosing to live in north-west Queensland.
Brian Hearne, Xstrata Zinc CEO told ABC that the company has been using two strategies to increase the number of employees choosing to live at Mount Isa Mines.
Firstly, to actively encourage fly-in, fly-out workers to relocate to the city, and secondly, to lure more locals into the mining sector.
Hearne commented, “A lot of people here would blame me for pinching their people and yes, I probably do, [but] we've actually reduced contractors by a third.”
While the strategy appears to be working for the mining giant, Hearne admitted not all stakeholders were happy with the tactics.
“I've heard the stories of the local people saying, 'well I'm pinching all their people', but you can't employ locals when there's no locals to employ, can you?” he said.
Xstrata said fly-in, fly-out workers will always be needed to fill short-term contracts at mine sites outside of Mount Isa, but by doubling the number of locals it hires over the next year, the mining giant will also see a massive reduction in its employee transportation overheads.
“There's a real challenge as to how we skill-up and man-up in the years to come,” Hearn said.