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Australian company Mineral Resources is keen to spread the message that its mines are safe for women to work at.
SUPPLIEDAustralian company Mineral Resources is keen to spread the message that its mines are safe for women to work at.

A giant Australian mining company founded by a New Zealander is trying to lure hundreds of New Zealanders across the ditch with the promise of salaries starting at more than $150,000.

Perth-based Mineral Resources, which is listed on the Australian ASX sharemarket as being worth A$16.5 billion (NZ$17.8b)​, has launched an advertising campaign targetting Kiwi tradies.

Crane operators could earn base salaries of A$140,000 (NZ$152,000) to A$200,000 (NZ$216,000), electricians A$140,000 to A$180,000, boilermakers A$140,000 to A$180,000, safety advisers A$120,000 to A$180,000, and construction supervisors/superintendents A$180,000 to A$300,000.

“I have no doubt people can get half their salary again, or double, and that’s in Australian dollars as well,” said Mike Grey, Mineral Resources’ chief executive for mining services.

The company was also taking people starting out in their careers.

“We have got about a thousand positions open across our business, which is pretty vast,” said Grey, who moved to Australia from New Zealand in the 1990s, and now lives on a rural section outside Perth.

The company was in expansion mode, with the construction of the giant Onslow iron ore mine in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia taking place over the next 18 months to two years.

Workers from all kinds of trades were in demand.

“We will be engaging 1000 to 1200 people over the next six months,” he said.

The company expected to hire several hundred New Zealanders, said Grey.

He was keen to stress that Australian mines were safe workplaces for women.

People did not need to be big and strong to work in mining, he said.

Mineral Resources’ advertising campaign features images of men, however.

Ads would run on Sky Sport, including during the FIFA World Cup, and there would be digital advertising and billboards across major New Zealand airports.

The company was mindful that it was a big leap for people to leave New Zealand.

Some it would employ on a FIFO, of fly-in, fly-out basis, so their family could remain in New Zealand.

A typical FIFO could involve four weeks on, followed by two weeks off back in New Zealand.

But the company would also help people’s spouses find work too, if the whole family wanted to move across, Grey said.

Salaries depended on experience, and on top of the base salaries people got other benefits like super contributions.

But, Grey said: “An individual I have just employed out of Dunedin, who has been in the industry for 30 years. He was earning NZ$105,000 in Dunedin. His salary has tripled.”

Mineral Resources’ recruitment campaign comes at a tight time in the labour market, though unemployment is on the rise as the Reserve Bank Te Pūtea Matua tries to engineer a recession in a bid to bring inflation under control.

The Australian mining company was founded by New Zealander Chris Ellison, who moved to Australia from Dunedin at the age of 19.

Ellison sent his own message to Kiwis.

“Come and work with me because we have so much to offer in terms of the diversity of our business, opportunities for young people who want to get ahead, and you’re going to be surrounded by people who have a like-mind,” he said.