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Bunuba trainee program empowers Aboriginal employment in West Kimberley

Zak Kirkup -

A new indigenous trainee program is underway in the West Kimberley, as part of the Western Australian Government's plan to rehabilitate the former Ellendale diamond mining lease.

The Ellendale mine is located approximately 140 km east of Derby in the West Kimberley and was declared abandoned in December 2015.

The Bunuba Trainee program, delivered in-part by the local Bunuba people, will provide a meaningful employment pathway through an on-country training initiative.

The traineeships form part of the State Government's earthworks contract awarded to Buru Rehab, an Indigenous business that specialises in mine rehabilitation services across Western Australia.

Buru Rehab is aiming to employ a minimum of 12 trainees in groups of four, with the company set to complete the earthworks over the next three dry seasons.

This phase of the project will address several areas across the site currently experiencing erosion.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston expressed enthusiasm for the Bunuba Trainee Program, highlighting its potential in providing Aboriginal individuals with local training, skills, and job opportunities.

"The Bunuba Trainee Program is a fantastic opportunity for Aboriginal people to gain local training, skills, and employment opportunities," Mr Johnston said.

"Supporting regional jobs across Western Australia is a priority for the Cook Government as it encourages people to stay and support their local communities.

"As part of its oversight of the Ellendale mining lease, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety consulted a range of stakeholders including Aboriginal interests, local government, tenement holders, and pastoralists."

The scope of this project includes abandoned mine features within the area encompassing the original two mine site areas of operation, waste rock landforms, water storage facilities, tailings storage facilities, and ancillary infrastructure including access roads, airstrip, and bore fields.

The Bunuba Trainee Program and the collaborative efforts of Buru Rehab and the State Government signify a step towards restoring the land and promoting sustainable employment opportunities in the West Kimberley region.

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