How to get a job on the Rio Tinto Rail Capacity Enhancement Project

In the ‘How to get a start at …….’ series we are going to be running over Australian Mining and Construction projects all over the country.  In each post we will include an Overview of the project, a Location Profile, the Companies involved, the Occupations required, the skills / qualifications that will help you to get your foot in the door and the Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.  This will help you to stay in the loop and know how to skill up where needed.  The aim is to help you get yourself into the best position to land a start on the major sites and projects around Australia.


About the Rio Tinto Rail Capacity Enhancement Project

From the Rio Tinto Website

Rio Tinto has committed a further US$3.4 billion (Rio Tinto share $2.9 billion) to the major expansion of its Pilbara iron ore operations in Western Australia.

• US$1.2 billion (Rio Tinto share US$700 million) for Cape Lambert port and rail early works needed for the proposed capacity expansion to 353 Mt/a. The 353 Mt/a expansion is in final feasibility study, with a final investment decision expected later this year.
Rio Tinto expects capital intensity of expansion from 220 Mt/a to 353 Mt/a to be around mid-US$150s per tonne, on a 100 per cent basis (Rio Tinto share around mid-US$130s per tonne).

Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Australia chief executive Sam Walsh said “We believe we have the best quality iron ore expansion projects anywhere in the world. They are high return, low risk investments that are highly value-adding for shareholders.
“Today we are announcing another significant milestone in our drive towards a more than 50 per cent increase in the size of iron ore operations in Western Australia. The programme remains on track and we are bringing new iron ore production on stream at a time when demand from Asian markets is forecast to grow strongly, while industry supply growth remains constrained.”

The Cape Lambert funding follows other early works investments already underway. Plans to increase capacity at the port have been enhanced by further plans to replace an ageing car dumper with a new dual car dumper, contributing an additional 20 Mt/a to take Cape Lambert capacity to 203 M/ta in 2015.

From the Abigroup Website

Abigroup has announced it has secured two major contracts with Rio Tinto for works on the company’s Rail Capacity Enhancement Project near Karratha in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

This announcement comes following a six-month early contractor involvement phase which saw Abigroup work closely with the projects Engineering Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) partner Calibre Global, and Rio Tinto to refine the project scope and program to maximise the value of the project for the client and establish a collaborative and transparent working environment.

The two contracts will see Abigroup duplicate approximately 60km of Rio Tinto’s existing Cape Lambert to Emu railway formation including bulk earthworks, drainage works, two rail bridges, new access roads and associated works as well as upgrading Rio Tinto’s existing Emu Siding facilities.

Abigroup General Manager Western Australia, Maurice Dessauvagie said, “This is the largest contract Abigroup has secured in Western Australia since establishing our business here five years ago and further expands on our successful relationship with Rio Tinto.”

“The projects, which form an essential part of Rio Tinto’s expansion upgrade program, will be delivered as part of our existing framework arrangement with Rio Tinto.

“Since commencing operations in Western Australia five years ago the business in the west has grown through a series of strong infrastructure projects for both the public and private sectors,” Maurice said.

Work will start on the project immediately with completion scheduled for early 2014.


Location Profile – Port Hedland, Karratha & Pilbara

Port Hedland, Newman, Ningaloo Reef, Onslow, Karratha, Millstream Chichester National Park, Dampier, Mackeral Islands, Tom Price, Pilbara, Karijini National Park, Marble Bar, Rudall River National Park, Iron Ore, Rail, Port, Natural Gas, Salt, Manganese, Fishing, Snorkelling, Diving, 4×4, Skate parks, Tennis, Cricket, Soccer, Hockey, AFL, Swimming, Gorges, Hiking, Boating, Adventure

Population: 48,610 (2010) ABS

Pilbara Regional Council Link

Pilbara Region – Rents as at Jan 2012

2 Bed 1 Bath –  $950 – $1600

3 Bed 1 Bath –  $1100 – $ 2300

4 Bed 2 Bath – $ 1450 – $ 3000

Pilbara Region – House Prices as at Jan 2012

2 Bed 1 Bath –  $310,000 – $759,000

3 Bed 1 Bath –  $395,000 – $1.150,000

4 Bed 2 Bath – $490,000 – $2.700,000

Climate data for Port Hedland Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C 49.0 48.2 45.9 42.4 38.8 35.5 34.4 36.8 42.2 46.9 47.4 47.9 49.0
Average high °C 36.4 36.2 36.7 35.2 30.6 27.6 27.2 29.1 32.3 34.8 36.2 36.6 33.2
Average low °C 25.6 25.5 24.5 21.4 17.2 14.2 12.3 13.2 15.4 18.4 21.3 24.0 19.4
Record low °C 18.1 16.3 15.8 12.2 7.0 4.7 3.2 3.7 7.7 11.1 12.4 16.6 3.2
Avg. Rainfall mm 62.2 94.8 50.1 22.4 27.0 20.7 11.1 4.9 1.3 0.9 2.7 18.1 316.3
Avg.Rainy days 5.1 7.3 4.5 2.0 3.1 3.0 2.2 1.2 1.0 0.8 0.6 1.8 32.6


Companies Involved with the Rio Tinto Rail Capacity Enhancement Project

SKM – Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management contractor for the expansion of Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert port facility

Abigroup – Duplicate approximately 60km of Rio Tinto’s existing Cape Lambert to Emu railway formation including bulk earthworks, drainage works, two rail bridges, new access roads and associated works as well as upgrading Rio Tinto’s existing Emu Siding facilities.

Monadelphous – Structural, mechanical and piping works

Georgiou Group – Camp Accomodation, additional 500 person camp for Rio Tinto, expanding the Cape Lambert Camp to accommodate 1,800 people in total.

John Holland – The project will extend the wharf currently being constructed by John Holland to provide an additional two berths at Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert Port B.

Nomad Building Solutions – Contract to design, manufacture and install 60 modular residential houses (Cape Lambert).

Southern Cross Electrical Engineering – Supply and installation of the electrical and instrumentation package at the Cape Lambert facility.


Occupations Required at the Rio Tinto Rail Capacity Enhancement Project

  • Electrical Trades
  • Mechanical Trades
  • Building Trades/Formworkers
  • Steelfixers/Concretors
  • Scaffolding
  • Rigging
  • Mobile Plant Operator / Truck Driver
  • Crane Operators
  • Labourer / Trades Assistant
  • Metal Trades


Qualifications to help you get a foot in at the Rio Tinto Rail Capacity Enhancement Project

  • Relevant Trade Qualifications and / or WA Licences
  • Occupational Health and Safety – Construction Induction (White Card)
  • Australian Drivers Licences
  • High Risk Work Licence for any required plant, eg. EWP’s, Forklifts, Mobile Crane, Loaders.
  • Safely Working at Heights for EWP workers
  • Ability to pass Medical including Drug and Alcohol screening
  • Dogging/Rigging Tickets
  • First Aid Certificate


Interstate Licence Recognition

A helpful tool to finding out whether your trade qualification needs mutual recognition when working interstate.
Check out the Cribhut Daily post – Thinking about Working Interstate – Licence Recognition


Rio Tinto Rail Capacity Enhancement Project Enterprise Bargaining Agreements

An Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) is a collective industrial agreement between either an employer and a trade union acting on behalf of employees or an employer and employees acting for themselves.

 At this stage of the project no EBA’s can be found.  As we find the EBA’s them will be updated into this article.


Disclaimer: Cribhut provides this information with the best intentions, but purely as a guide.  Like most things in life, there are no guarantees.  Your lively hood is your own responsibility and even if following the above recommendations, it is still up to you to do your own research, to be patient, persistent and put in the hard work.

Photo Credit (daily sunny)



Cribhut Insights