On the road between the town of Paraburdoo and Rio Tinto's Paraburdoo iron ore mine in Western Australia stands a four-metre high sculpture titled "RESILIENCE" – a symbol of strength and collaboration among remote Pilbara mining communities.

RESILIENCE was unveiled in December 2014, the culmination of 18 months of effort by Rio Tinto employees and community members from Paraburdoo, who worked alongside well-known Western Australian sculptor Alex Mickle to create the artwork.

It forms part of the state-wide FIVE project, a partnership between Rio Tinto and arts and health organisation DADAA. The project was rolled out across five regional towns over a two-year period, including Busselton, Geraldton, Derby, Esperance and Paraburdoo.

image

Banded Iron Formation rock from the Paraburdoo mine was cut and polished over thousands of hours by dozens of community members to create the sculpture.

image

Rio Tinto employees and community members from Paraburdoo worked alongside well-known Western Australian sculptor Alex Mickle to create the artwork.

FIVE's work addresses research findings that social isolation and lack of communication are factors that contribute to poor mental health - particularly among Western Australia's regional communities. It aims to address the stigma of mental health through arts engagement. Activities such as RESILIENCE bring communities together and facilitate dialogue around difficult issues.

"The sculpture is not only beautiful, but also shows an interesting combination of references to the mining industry, geological history, Indigenous culture and resilience of remote Western Australian communities," said Andrea Mitchell MLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Mental Health.

"Our challenge was to develop a partnership that would support people beyond the gates of their workplace, build connections and raise awareness around mental health," added Michael Gollschewski, Rio Tinto's managing director, Pilbara Mines.

"FIVE has helped change perceptions about what it means to be creative and part of a community, while promoting a culture where it is OK to talk about how you are feeling."

The sculpture is in part made from steel plate shaped during a series of controlled blasts at Paraburdoo mine. Banded Iron Formation stone from the mine was cut and polished over thousands of hours by dozens of community members.

In August 2014, FIVE also won a silver Achievement Award at the national Mental Health Services Awards, in the category of "Mental Health Promotion or Mental Illness Prevention".