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WesTrac’s Geraldton facility will rebuild dozens of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara-based heavy machines until 2025, as part of a project organised by the Mid West Development Commission (MWDC).

Partnering with the Western Australian Government, the MWDC worked with industry to identify a need to accommodate additional repairs and maintenance for Rio Tinto’s equipment.

The Geraldton facility will service up to 12 dozers per year until 2025 from a number of Pilbara operations, allowing WesTrac’s Perth and Pilbara facilities to remain within capacity.

The project not only optimises operations at multiple facilities, but it reduces transport times and negates logistical issues usually faced by remote mining companies.

Regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan made the announcement and said it was promising to see the Mid West’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector get some much deserved help.

“This is a fantastic initiative that will see more work carried out in our regional centres, rather than shifting to Perth,” MacTiernan said.

“It confirms that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regionally-based METS facilities, but in fact an advantage.

“Developing capability in mining services will help to diversify and grow Geraldton’s economy, providing long-term jobs for local people.”

The Mid West is defined as a region in Western Australia which covers one fifth of the state from Green Head to Kalbarri, and inland to Wiluna and the Gibson Desert.

The region includes the Batavia Coast, Murchison and North Midlands subregions.

Rio Tinto port, rail and core services managing director Richard Cohen said the company was pleased to help in the development of the regions in which it operates.

“Rio Tinto is committed to growing regional Western Australia by supporting jobs and training opportunities for local people. Regional investment initiatives like the METS project will deliver ongoing benefits to the local economy,” Cohen said.

“The METS project will generate opportunities for local apprentices to develop and expand their skills and potential pathways for employment with Rio Tinto.

“By unlocking the capabilities of the Geraldton WesTrac branch, we are significantly reducing transport time by removing the roughly 900-kilometre round trip to Perth.

“This will lower costs, improve productivity and reduce the risk of driving-related incidents that can occur on congested metropolitan roads.”