Jo-Anne Scarini - Rio Tinto Alcan Gove Operation - Rio’s key initiatives to support the transition at Gove


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Jo-Anne Scarini delivered the presentation at the 2014 Mining the Territory Conference.

With record year on year investment in mining developments and exploration in the Northern Territory, the 8th Annual Mining the Territory Conference is perfectly placed to hear latest information on this booming region.

For more information about the event, please visit:

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Jo-Anne Scarini - Rio Tinto Alcan Gove Operation - Rio’s key initiatives to support the transition at Gove

  1. 1. Curtailing the Gove Refinery A significant transition for the Operation, the community and the regional economy.
  2. 2. “This work has required an extraordinary emotional investment on the part of leaders and those facing the community on a daily basis. It has required tenacity and a willingness to face people’s distress in the wake of the announcement on the future of the refinery.”
  3. 3. Operational Transition Roadmap 12 Operational Transition Scope/ Objectives Strategy/ Approach Resources/ Tools Technical process for refinery Mining operations Workforce transition Customers and Suppliers • Manage a safe and orderly wind down of refining operations and transition to a care and maintenance program for the operation. • Transition to mine only residential operation. • Identify residual workforce. • Manage impacts on workforce . • Manage customer and supplier relationships through the transition. • Manage bx, al, hydrate and caustic balance through the transition. • Develop technical pathway to wind down refining operations and implement. • Develop and implement care and maintenance program with a focus on high cost critical components. • Safely store seed material for restart. • Engage workforce on ‘My Future Plan’ process. • Seek to redeploy as many people as possible within RT. • Support workforce through the transition and optimise the number of people that leave Nhulunbuy with alternate employment. • Ensure wind down optimises hydrate, alumina and bauxite production. • Operationalise new supply of hydrate. • Close out all supplier agreements on refining activities. • Manage working capital effectively. • Ensure careful approach to wellbeing of the workforce, especially a safe ramp down of operations and psychological wellbeing of workforce and their families. Make transitional support services available. • Consider how best to manage environmental legacies during and post the wind down process. • Sufficient resources to ensure a safe transition process and that environmental legacies are appropriately managed. • Site team to be engaged in delivering the transition. • Develop and submit revised MMP. • Initiate capital program to support 8mdpt p.a. • Ensure environmental legacies are appropriately managed (integrity of dams, WWNP). • Fill roles in residual organisation. • Establish care and maintenance team. • Redundancy costs. • Costs for transitional support – counsellors, financial advisors, outplacement services. • Establish and utilise alternate RT production facilities for hydrate. • 6/8 Conveyor link to be installed. • Shiploading solution to be implemented.
  4. 4. Community Transition Roadmap 16 Community Transition Scope/ Objectives Strategy/ Approach Resources/ Tools Services Organisation Residential Property Investors Traditional Owners • Ensure viability of specialised service provision in the community e.g. childcare, education, airport, barges, supermarket, bank, other essential services. • Ensure sustainability of Town infrastructure and services including airport. • Support capacity of local organisations to service the community into the future. • Limit the potential negative impact on housing market. • Provide transitional support to property owners experiencing financial hardship. • Ensure Nhulunbuy can continue to fulfil the role of regional service hub. • Increase employment opportunities for traditional owners in the region. • Maintain power water and sewer services for the town. • Ensure good level of town amenity. • Ensure viability of specialised service provision in the community e.g. childcare, education, air services, barges, supermarket, other services. • Implement property strategy and policy framework. • Leverage RTA housing assets for economic growth, manage ‘supply’ of housing, without restricting the residents in Nhulunbuy. • Consider using Nhulunbuy as a FIFO base for projects in the Territory. • Engage banks. • Engage TOs in the development of the long term vision for the town and the region. • Improve employment and training efforts for Traditional Owners. • Provide information on impacts and timing • Provide transitional support to all community members – counselling, financial advice, job search support to limit immediate impacts of decision. • Additional financial resources to support continuation of town services. • Incentives for operators to remain in the region. • Community Development fund resourcing. • Airport subsidy. • Study costs. • Rates relief and mortgage assistance programs • Subsidised residential rental for ex-employees wishing to remain in Nhulunbuy. • Maintain resourcing to TO agreement. • Operational planning for NCL and Airport. • Long term Strategy for Nhulunbuy Township. • Review governance of the Town. • Establishment of a community development fund. • Resourcing of transitional support programs.
  5. 5. “Despite the difficulties experienced by the refinery over a long period of time, community members and staff never really believed we would curtail the refinery.”
  6. 6. Regional Economic Development Roadmap 20 Regional Economic Development Scope/ Objectives Strategy/ Approach Resources/ Tools Local Suppliers Local Businesses Traditional Owners Developing economic activities • Maximise local procurement (where competitive). • Assist in smooth transition. • Explore opportunities outside of Nhulunbuy. • Maximise the usage of existing business prior to supporting the establishment of new entities. • Support the development / enhancement of sustainable TO activities. • Facilitate development of sustainable alternatives. • Maximise possibility of a “flagship” job creation opportunity. • Develop knowledge base of capability, infrastructure, strengths, etc. • Maximise outsource options to assist the survival of local businesses. • Provide access to business mentors to support the capability of local businesses to plan through the transition and drive growth following the cessation of refining. • Implement local buy policy and encourage others in the region to do the same. • Maintain population through FIFO from the region and other opportunities. • Engage with TOs on how RED might be progressed. • Engage on Dhupuma Plateau and how this project can be facilitated with knowledge and skills transfer. • Ramp up indigenous employment in the region. • Explore with NT / Fed Govt significant activities that could be located in Nhulunbuy. • Focus on 2-3 key areas to explore and develop vision and specific strategies. • Business planning support delivered from Transitional Support Centre. • Subsidised commercial rental for businesses in RT premises. • Relief for business. • Regional Economic Development (RED) Working group established (High level engagement from NTG, Federal Government, TOs, local Business community, NCL). • Develop fact base, SWOT, Vision and Master Plan. • Establish partnerships to deliver the approach (e.g. Economic Development Australia). • RTA Full time resource + support from Head office champion, dedicated Federal Government champion, dedicated NTG Champion. • Regional Economic development fund with RT, FG and NTG contributions. • Leverage RTA facilities and expertise whenever possible. • RED working group. • Micro financing program with Westpac. • Business mentors.
  7. 7. “Working for a company with strong values has allowed us to: have a good plan, a fair plan, to respond to the community in the way that they needed, and to be proud of the work we have done through this transition.”
  8. 8. “Having a strong partner for the transition like the NT Government has been imperative to what we will ultimately deliver for the community.”
  9. 9. Rio Tinto has invested $50 million over 5 years to support the community transition.
  10. 10. To a large extent, there have been no templates to follow.
  11. 11. “This work has radically changed the way I think about closure planning and the timeframes to consider closure issues.”
  12. 12. “There has been some fantastic work done on regional economic development and the economic development entity. The approaches taken within the region will be a great asset for decades to come and could become a model for others in the future.”