Adani's upgraded Labona Airstrip will allow workers to FIFO from Rockhampton and Townsville
Adani's upgraded Labona Airstrip will allow workers to FIFO from Rockhampton and Townsville Cameron Laird

FIRST LOOK: Rocky FIFO begins as Adani airstrip complete

ROCKHAMPTON will live up to its title as the joint Adani FIFO Hub later this month as workers begin flying out of the city direct to the mining giant's new airstrip.

The Morning Bulletin can exclusively reveal Adani's Labona Airstrip upgrade is now complete with flights having already begun to the site out of Townsville.

An Adani spokesperson described the move as 'another exciting milestone' for the Carmichael mine and rail project, which has more than 500 people currently working on it.

"Airstrip works at our mine site are now complete and we have recently commenced flights between Townsville and the mine site, with flights from Rockhampton to the mine site to commence later this month," the spokesperson said.

"We always said Rockhampton and Townsville would be the FIFO hubs for our project and we're delivering on that commitment.

"Workers have also started to move into the first of our three temporary rail accommodation camps. The three temporary rail camps combined will deliver an additional 1200 beds for the project workforce.

"We remain on track to create more than 1500 direct jobs during the construction and ramp up of our project and some further 6750 indirect jobs."

The Adani spokesperson said the airstrip and FIFO flights would help improve the safety of staff and contractors, particularly around fatigue management, by significantly reducing their travel time at the start and end of their rosters.

"The flights will also mean less vehicles on the roads, which will benefit local road users," the spokesperson said.

The airstrip is about 1080m long and Adani is currently using Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft to transport workers to and front site. A contract for ongoing aviation services has been awarded but not yet announced.

Rockhampton regional Mayor Margaret Strelow was delighted to see flights will be coming out of Rockhampton to the Carmichael mine site.

"Adani has consistently promised it would look after our region and they've kept the faith with some good announcements for manufacturing businesses locally," Cr Strelow said.

"This is another step in cementing an important partnership for our region and sets Rockhampton up well for long-term jobs which has always been Council's focus and will continue to be as construction and operations ramp up."

The boost to Rockhampton's status in the Adani project comes after Parkhurst based company Stresscrete was awarded a contract worth more than $9 million to manufacture girders and supply concrete box culverts for the rail project.

 

Adani's upgraded Labona Airstrip will allow workers to FIFO from Rockhampton and Townsville
Adani's upgraded Labona Airstrip will allow workers to FIFO from Rockhampton and Townsville

 

A $350 million contract was always awarded to Queensland company BMD to deliver civil construction works for the Carmichael Rail Network.

"We also recently announced we had awarded a $220+ million civil construction contract for the Carmichael Rail Network to Australian rail company Martinus, to build a critical section of the railway," the Adani spokesperson said.

"This is the second major package of works awarded to Martinus, following the $100 million contract announced in Rockhampton in October 2019. The total value of contracts awarded is now over $1 billion."

It's full steam ahead for the Adani project, with the company also taking delivery of its five mining trucks.

"The remaining truck fleet is being assembled in Mackay, with each requiring a team of approximately 40 men and women to put them together over a period of about 10 weeks, the Adani spokesperson said.

"They are then transported to site, where final assembly is completed."

Construction of the mine and rail project is continuing on schedule, with railway and mine works being undertaken in line with strict measures to manage the risk of the COVID-19 virus.

"We recognise how important it is to continue our operations where safe to do so to provide certainty of employment for our staff, contractors and the thousands of people across north and Central Queensland who indirectly rely on our project for their livelihoods," the spokesperson said.

"Health and safety is always our first priority and we have adapted our operations in order to keep people in work and continue to provide new job opportunities."