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BMAs Caval team welcomes new Indigenous trainees

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance's (BMA) Caval Ridge Mine has welcomed 20 Indigenous Trainees to their team as part of a new 12-month Traineeship program on site.

The program commenced last month, with the trainees now completing a CERT II in Surface Extraction/Resource Processing, and working in a range of teams including Drill, Overburden, Coal Mining, Mine Services and in the Coal Handling and Processing Plant (CHPP).

Brad Prytherch, General Manager Caval Ridge Mine, said the program was developed in collaboration with local Traditional Owners, the Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation.

"Caval Ridge Mine is on Barada Barna Country and we have been working closely with our Traditional Owners to create opportunities for their people and other Indigenous people in Queensland," Brad said.

"We respect their ongoing custodianship and connection to this country and we want to ensure that the benefits of mining are shared with them."

The team worked with the Traditional Owners throughout the process, from the development of the traineeship through to recruitment, with the program since hiring almost 50 per cent Barada Barna people, together with Indigenous peoples from across Queensland.

"BMA recognises that we are stronger when we provide a work environment that appreciates our differences, where people feel included and are treated fairly and with respect," Brad said.

The Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation were also pleased with the outcome, with the corporation’s board of directors reiterating that working on-country is important to the Barada Barna people, who were happy to work together with BMA to make this happen.

Chris Brown, a Trainee Drill Operator and Traditional Owner, was thrilled when he found out he had received a permanent role through the traineeship program, already working towards buying his first home.

"I haven’t had a dream in a long time, but I’ve already started placing targets and setting goals," Chris said.

"The most valuable material thing I’ve ever owned is a second hand 2004 Mazda 6. Now, I’m thinking about finding a nice place to buy a house and settle down - a place to call home that I can actually own."

Now a few weeks into the job, Chris said his new job nerves have settled down and he's enjoying learning new skills and finding his routine.

"Like any job, the first weeks are always daunting. With no experience in this type of mining, I had no idea what to expect. Once I actually started and I met the team, all of these feelings went away and now I'm just excited to learn," Chris said.

"I'm so proud to be part of the team and BMA has provided me with an opportunity to accomplish things that the five previous generations of family never have."

The traineeships are a meaningful way that BMA is delivering on the BHPs Reconciliation Action Plan Commitments and creating Social Value where we operate.