Glencore Chief Operating Officers have stated that Fly In and Fly Out and Labour Hire workers were "part of the business" when it came to employing qualified staff in Mount Isa and Cloncurry.
The North West Star sat down with Glencore, Zinc Assets Australia COO Greg Ashe and Copper Assets North Queensland COO Matt O'Neill who stated they would like to employ as many locals as possible if applicants had the correct skill set for the job.
"We would prefer to have our sites residential but there is not the workforce to do that," Mr O'Neill said.
"Ernest Henry Mine is about 80 per cent FIFO and what we have implemented there is that all of our leadership team need to be living in Cloncurry and that is something we have made mandatory.
"The same approach here (in Mount Isa) is the residential site but we have some FIFO roles where we could not source the person locally.
"If we have been recruiting for one role for three to six months then we look at a short term FIFO arrangement. It's not our first choice but sometimes you just have to have them."
Mr Ashe said it was very similar circumstances at Lady Loretta zinc mine, north of Mount Isa.
"There is no opportunity for anyone to live in or around that area," he said.
"Our first preference would definitely be to have everyone residential but unfortunately, other than Mount Isa, there are not many mines around the world that have the opportunity to be residential.
"I think it is something we have to be careful of in terms of black and white, yes and no,
"Our intent is to have as many people residential as we can, but as Matt was saying for people who are skilled and work set skills in the mining industry, it is effectively full employment here in Mount Isa.
"FIFO is just part of our business."
Mr O'Neill said there was no shortage of jobs within the Glencore company, with 240 vacant roles.
"If someone wants a job and has the skill sets we would love to have them, there is no issue there," he said
"We have a lot of success with local people when they join our business and they tend to stay a while and we don't have a huge turn over with employees.
"We have a number of programs to attract local employees including apprentice programs, school leavers program and scholarships."
Mr O'Neill said like FIFO, Labour Hire was an important part of the Glencore business due to fluctuations in work patterns.
"Because our work goes up and down, the Labour Hire and contract workers are there to work those peaks," he said.
"This is so we don't have to let employees go when work drops off and then employ again when it ramps back up.
"It is an easier system and assists greatly with shutdowns."
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