Business and industry leaders have welcomed Mainteck’s achievement in securing $100 million in work from two big projects announced on Monday.
The contracts for global mining company Anglo American’s Queensland operations and Cement Australia’s cement-grinding mill at Port Kembla are expected to double the size of Mainteck’s workforce.
The announcement coincided with 11 employees flying to Queensland’s Bowen Basin to start working out of Moranbah where they will spend the next nine months delivering structural, mechanical and piping installations at a new mine.
Mainteck is building a coal overland conveyor system for the Grosvenor longwall project and up 90 Illawarra workers are expected to be involved.
Those who flew out yesterday all volunteered to work away from home and thanked Mainteck for sticking by them and their workmates during a difficult 18 months.
Their boss Rory McNeill is joining them but Mainteck will fabricate as much as possible at Port Kembla.
General manager Tim Moss both said the company was providing communications such as Skype and handyman services for their families while they were away.
Mainteck is also trying to secure a more direct transport link to Muranbah.
‘‘The workers will initially be using commercial flights to Queensland but as the work increases we hope to have charter flights out of Albion Park,” Mr Moss said.
The company has already started advertising for more workers to help with the construction and management of the Outer Harbour project at Port Kembla.
i3net chairman Emilio Salucci said it was exciting to see what Mainteck and several other companies were presently doing to bring work back to the region.
Australian Industry Group regional manager Leanne Grogan described Mainteck’s success as a great example of what Illawarra companies could achieve if they looked for work beyond the escarpment.
RDA Illawarra chief executive Natalie Burroughs welcomed the increase in employment.
‘‘In an industry that has been effected quite severely over the past 12 to 18 months, this is fantastic news for many workers that are looking for employment,’’ she said.
‘‘Some 150 retrenched workers following the BlueScope downsizing are still looking for work, we are hoping this announcement will go some way in putting another big dent into this number.’’
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