Gove aerial shot












2019 figures

Our Gove Operations in Australia’s Northern Territory have been supplying the global aluminium industry with world-class bauxite for more than 40 years.

Gove bauxite is shipped internationally as well as domestically to supply Queensland Alumina Limited and Yarwun refineries in Gladstone, Queensland. These refineries produce alumina as feedstock for our Australian aluminium smelting operations and for sale on the international market.

We expect our bauxite mining operations in the Gove Peninsula will cease in 2030 and we are doing significant work to support closure of the operation.

Innovation at Gove

We consult with Traditional Owners and other stakeholders about opportunities beyond the life of our operations in the region.

As part of our engagement with Traditional Owners in preparation for closure, we use virtual reality technology to illustrate rehabilitation processes and give insight into how the land may look in the future. This gives Traditional Owners the opportunity to see their future aspirations and share their feedback with us.

We are also using virtual reality technology to showcase Gove’s bauxite mining operation: viewers can experience mining from their seat and take a ride in a mine truck or a ship loader and even collect seeds with Traditional Owners, allowing them to experience life at our Gove Operations.

Gove Communities

Our Gove Operations have been supporting local communities on the Gove Peninsula for more than 40 years. As one of the largest employers in the region, our local sponsorships and donations program provides financial and in-kind investments that enrich the region and maintain the community’s unique vibrancy.

Some of these projects include our decade-long sponsorship of the Yothu Yindu Foundation’s Garma Festival, and, for more than 30 years, our ongoing support of the Nhulunbuy Community Beach Volleyball Competition.

Working at sea

How are we supporting our community?

Rio Tinto Gove Operations has two funding programs currently available for not for profit groups.

Gove COVID-19 response, resilience and recovery program

As part of Rio Tinto’s Partnership for Progress program, $100,000 in funding is now available for not for profit community groups and associations to support COVID-19 response, resilience and recovery activities across the Gove Peninsula. Applications close 30 September 2020.

Gove sponsorships and donations program

Gove Operations sponsorship and donations program offers support to community and not for profit groups through the provision of financial and in-kind contributions for activities that enhance the liveability and community vibrancy across the Gove Peninsula. This program runs year-round.

  • May 15 2020 Update
    Gove Peninsula, Northern Territory

    Keeping each other safe

    15 May 2020

    We have pledged A$500,000 to CareFlight Northern Operations to support emergency aeromedical care in the Northern Territory as part of a A$1.1 million commitment to support East Arnhem communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The contribution underlines our commitment to the health and wellbeing of the region and to provide resources to combat the effects of the pandemic.

    Gove Operations General Manager Alysia Tringrove said “I’m pleased to announce Rio Tinto has committed A$1.1 million to the Gove Peninsula from its Partnership for Progress program, which has been set up to provide more support to communities where we operate.

    “CareFlight provides a vital service to remote and rural areas and is the primary aeromedical, search and rescue service in the Northern Territory. This funding will help CareFlight continue to supply emergency care and other medical services to people in the East Arnhem region and the rest of the Territory.

    CareFlight Northern Operations General Manager Philip Roberts said the team was pleased to welcome Rio Tinto as a funding partner:

    “These funds will play a vital role in improving patient outcomes across East Arnhem Land and ensuring the most remote pockets of the Territory have equity in access to a hospital level of care. Rio Tinto’s contribution will allow us to bolster services during the current COVID-19 response and develop additional options to service the East Arnhem region.

    “As the only aeromedical provider in the Top End, covering more than 600,000 square kilometres, it is critical we deliver equity in healthcare to all rural and remote residents, as well as our most vulnerable populations.”

    CareFlight senior flight nurse and midwife Trudy Guiney said she felt privileged to have lived in the East Arnhem region for 20 years and to be part of the CareFlight team servicing the region:

    “The greatest joy for me has been building relationships in the community and caring for the families in the region.

    “For example, during our most recent wet season, I was on night shift and received a patient that was critically ill and required an expedited transfer to Royal Darwin Hospital for internal bleeding.

    “One of the most satisfying things was that his wife really trusted us because of our existing strong relationship. When she saw me, she knew he would be looked after, because we’ve looked after her, her children and her grandchildren over the years.

    “During times of uncertainty and taking loved ones across vast distances, trust and confidence in our people and organisation really matters. This patient survived and is back in our community today.”

    The CareFlight investment is the first major investment announced in the Northern Territory as part of our US$25 million commitment we have made to support communities around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

  • April 2 2020 Update

    2 April 2020

    On 26 March, the Northern Territory Government declared designated biosecurity areas including East Arnhem and Nhulunbuy, with anyone entering a designated biosecurity area needing to self-quarantine for 14 days.

    What this means for our Gove Operations workforce:

    • We have stopped travel into our Indigenous communities of Yirrkala and Gunyangara and limited travel to Nhulunbuy
    • We have moved to operating with only people who are absolutely critical to business continuity at site, with all non-operational people working from home

    We continue to work very closely with the Northern Territory Government on our FIFO workforce arrangements. Although we have stopped all non-essential travel, there are still areas that require a FIFO workforce and we are working with the government to do this safely and with strict controls to provide separation from Nhulunbuy and the surrounding communities.

    The health and wellbeing of our workforce and the community remains our priority. We are also offering strong support locally to the Northern Territory Government and Gove health services to ensure our community is prepared.

We have been making some changes to the way we do things on site to keep our people safe and our operations running. At Gove, we have been running virtual safety interactions, with our Chief Executive J-S Jacques recently joining an inspection of one of our bauxite conveyor belts. It is just one way we are staying connected, even when we are far apart.
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Land Agreements
  • Supporting Local Indigenous Businesses
  • Economic Development

Cultural Heritage

The Indigenous people of North East Arnhem land, the Yolngu, have lived in the region for more than 65,000 years and practise one of the longest living traditional cultures in the world.

Our Gove Operations – including the township of Nhulunbuy – are located on Aboriginal land. We acknowledge the significant value Yolngu place on their heritage and country, and work in partnership with them throughout the mining process to manage this. We manage cultural heritage and sacred sites as legislated by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA).

Our lease areas contain a wide range of cultural heritage features and values. They can be tangible, such as landscapes and artefacts, and intangible, such as language, music and customary practice. All heritage features and values are considered as being of equal value. If a site or an object is identified as significant, it is protected from mining.

For example, in 2018, 385 hectares of land were surveyed across the mining lease with Traditional Owners to protect and preserve sites and story places. We also partner with local Yolngu through the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, who manage the Indigenous Protected Area where we operate.

Land Agreements

In 2011 we signed the Gove Traditional Owners Agreement with the Gumatj, Rirratjingu and Galpu Traditional Owners. We are the first operator in the region to sign an agreement with Traditional Owners.

The historic agreement provides mutual benefits including economic development, employment and training, land and environmental management, financial benefits, protection of cultural and significant sites and contracting business opportunities.

Supporting Local Indigenous Businesses

Supporting Yolngu business development forms an integral part of the Gove Traditional Owners Agreement. As the planned closure of the Gove Alumina Refinery and Residue Disposal Area progresses, our focus is to provide opportunities directly and indirectly to local and Indigenous businesses in the East Arnhem region. We do this through local procurement, partnerships and training.

Our operations are located on Indigenous-owned land and, in 2018, we became a customer of the Gulkula mine – Australia’s first 100% Indigenous run and owned bauxite mine, wholly owned by the Gumatj clan. We buy bauxite from Gulkula and export it nationally and internationally through our port. In May 2018, senior Traditional Owners of the Gumatj clan witnessed the first shipment of their bauxite to China from Rio Tinto’s export wharf at Gove.

In addition, adjacent to the mine, the Gumatj Corporation has established the Gulkula Regional Training Centre with funding support from Rio Tinto, and the Australian and Northern Territory governments, which allows local Indigenous people to receive on-the-job training to build careers in mining and other related industries.

We spend approximately A$50 million each year on a wide a range of goods and services provided by local Indigenous businesses including earthworks and construction, fencing, maintenance, waste management, heritage services and environmental and land rehabilitation services.

We also collaborate with the local communities and an example of this is our work with a Yolngu business to undertake mine rehabilitation. Local Yolngu collect native seed on the mining lease prior to mining, which is then used for the seeding of rehabilitated areas after mining. Each year, the Yolngu collect more than 400 kilograms of native seeds and more than 15,000 native plants are grown in our regeneration nursery. They are then used to rehabilitate around 120 hectares of land.

We also strive to increase local Indigenous employment for local Yolngu people and provide training opportunities to create employment opportunities beyond mining.

Economic Development

We were acutely aware of the challenges that lay ahead for the region following the curtailment of the Gove Alumina Refinery in 2013. In 2014, we partnered with the Northern Territory Government to fund the establishment of the independent not-for-profit company Developing East Arnhem Limited (DEAL), created to drive economic diversification and stimulate new opportunities in the region. Rio Tinto and the Government provided A$2 million each in seed funding.

Access to housing was identified as a key constraint to growth in the town; businesses could not expand because there was not enough affordable rental housing to accommodate new employees. To address this, Rio Tinto provided DEAL with 250 residential properties previously used for refinery workers.

Developing East Arnhem Limited (DEAL)

To help create broader employment opportunities, DEAL established an Economic Development Fund to finance business growth projects to deliver sustainable job outcomes for the region. 

DEAL’s focus is to link private enterprise, industry, community and government agencies to support economic diversification and growth in the East Arnhem region for the benefit of the regional population. This is achieved through projects across the tourism, health, retail, marine services, education and training, construction and hospitality industries.

Contact Gove

Gove aerial shot
Gove aerial shot


1 Melville Bay Road

Nhulunbuy NT 0880


T: 1800 996 508