Rio Tinto has awarded nearly $1.38bn in contracts to develop Amrun bauxite mine project on Cape York Peninsula, Australia.
Of the total amount, more than $900m has been awarded to Queensland suppliers, with nearly 510 businesses associated with the project based in the state.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: "Rio Tinto’s significant investment in local and regional suppliers will provide a tremendous boost to the economy of Queensland.
"The Amrun project will ensure Queensland businesses and their employees will continue to reap the benefits of many development opportunities for years to come.
"It is a best practice example of encouraging local and indigenous participation with substantial employment targets already agreed with many key suppliers."
Around 1,600 people are working on the project hired by different contractors. Around 77% of these contracted workers belong to Queensland.
Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques said: “We are proud of the contribution this tier one asset will make in supporting Queensland communities.
"Sustainability is crucial to this project and strict guidelines are in place for all suppliers. They must demonstrate they are commercially competitive, technically competent and most importantly, align with the safety standards of our group.
“Rio Tinto is a substantial contributor to the Queensland economy paying $1.3bn in state taxes and royalties over the past five years.”
As well as the mine, the Amrun project includes a processing plant, a power station, warehouses and bauxite stockpiles with new barge, ferry and ship loading facilities.
This project will replace the depleting East Weipa bauxite mine.
After development, the overall bauxite export from Cape York is expected to increase by nearly ten million tonnes per annum. The project is scheduled to begin production and shipping in the first half of 2019.
Image: Workers at the Amrun bauxite project. Photo: courtesy of Rio Tinto.