Rio Tinto awards $70 million contract for Amrun bauxite project to Queensland civil construction firm

19 January 2017

Rio Tinto has awarded a bulk earthworks contract valued at $70 million to Queensland-based civil engineering firm QBirt for the development of critical mine infrastructure at its world-class Amrun bauxite project on Cape York.

Earthworks required for the construction of the project include approximately 40 kilometres of sealed access roads and the haul road network.

QBirt will also develop the mine stockpile zone, tailings and separation ponds and other critical site infrastructure. Construction is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2017 and conclude by the end of 2018.

At its peak the contract will generate 150 jobs and help support ongoing employment for the existing workforce of 1400 people at Weipa’s bauxite operations.

Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said "The roads and other infrastructure to be developed by QBirt are essential to the future Amrun operation. We are very pleased that a Queensland-based business has won this important work ahead of other competitive bidders. QBirt not only brings more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, but shares our commitment to developing a strong and sustainable safety culture at Amrun."

QBirt founder and managing director Quentin Birt said "We pride ourselves on the relationships we generate and this is mirrored by our ongoing re-engagement with Rio Tinto. After the success of our accelerated construction mine haul road network at Weipa, this new Amrun contract only strengthens our long-term relationship with Rio Tinto."

QBirt is currently undertaking construction of a tailings facility at Rio Tinto’s Yarwun alumina refinery and has previously completed construction of 300,000m3 of embankment and 7 kilometres of mine haul roads at Rio Tinto’s Weipa bauxite mine.

Notes to editors
Rio Tinto announced its $2.6 billion investment in the Amrun project in late 2015. The project is about 40 kilometres south of Rio Tinto’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines on the Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland and involves the construction of a bauxite mine, processing and port facilities.

Production and shipping are expected to commence in the first half of 2019, ramping up to full production by the end of the year.

At its peak, construction of the project is expected to provide work for around 1100 people. Once operational, Amrun will help to support ongoing employment for the existing workforce of around 1400 employees and contractors at Rio Tinto’s Cape York bauxite operations.

Rio Tinto has a long history of partnering with Traditional Owners on Cape York. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up around 24 per cent of employees and the Amrun project will continue creating opportunities for indigenous people from Cape York and the surrounding region.