Our world-class Weipa bauxite operation exports over 30 million tonnes of bauxite annually.
Our Weipa operations are governed by three Aboriginal agreements: the Western Cape Communities Co-existence Agreement (WCCCA), the Ely Bauxite Mining Project Agreement (EBMPA) and the Weipa Township Agreement. These Agreements capture the aspirations of the business and Traditional Owners to work together to create long term mutual value and outline formal consultation processes between the company and the Traditional Owners of the land on which we operate. They lay the foundation for intergenerational benefits and sustainable economic, cultural, social and environmental outcomes for the signatory Traditional Owner Groups and communities - including education, employment, training, and cultural heritage management.
Scott Tass has a long history with Weipa. Find out about his role as superintendent at our Weipa bauxite operations.
Bauxite from our Weipa operations is shipped to international customers but the majority of Weipa bauxite is supplied to the Queensland Alumina Limited and Yarwun refineries, both located in Gladstone, Queensland. These refineries produce alumina as feedstock for Australian aluminium smelting operations and for sale on the international market.
Partnering to operate
We recognise that mining occurs on Aboriginal land, and acknowledge the unique and special connection Traditional Owners have with their country. Our agreements have underpinned a year-on-year increase in production and employment since they were signed.
Rio Tinto is a major contributor to the regional economy on the Western Cape, including significant investment in local infrastructure to support the Weipa township. The Weipa Town Authority manages the township with the support of local Traditional Owners under the Weipa Township Agreement. The Authority is made up of elected community representatives, a Traditional Owner representative and appointed Rio Tinto Aluminium Weipa personnel. The operation's biggest contribution to the Western Cape community is through employee wages, taxes and royalties.
Indigenous employment is a key focus area for the business, with around a quarter of the workforce representing Local Aboriginal and Indigenous Australians. We are committed to improving quality employment outcomes for local Aboriginal employees, and focusing on developing existing and potential local Aboriginal leaders across the site. Gender diversity is also a key focus area and our female participation across the operation is consistently above 25%.
To support employment in the region beyond the mining industry, Rio Tinto is a signatory to the Western Cape Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA), which brings together representatives from industry, three levels of government and Indigenous stakeholders of the Western Cape. Continuing to play a leading role in this partnership underpins our approach to regional economic development, through the Western Cape's economy and creating a sustainable increase in Indigenous participation in the broader workforce.
The business' partnership with the local school, the Western Cape College, also continues to thrive having celebrated a decade of working together in 2015. This award-winning partnership supports our Indigenous employment focus and boosts employability for local students by implementing effective structured school-to-work pathways linking school-based programmes with core industry requirements.
Our commitment to sustainable development of the region also extends to the way we look after the local environment. We work with Traditional Owners, independent ecologists, scientists and academics to learn more about and help protect native animals like the red goshawk, the palm cockatoo and the northern quoll. We also work closely with Traditional Owners to understand their special connection to country. We tap into their unique knowledge of the land to make sure areas are looked after properly during mining and guide how the land is revegetated for future generations.