Thiess extends major Australian coal contract

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Thiess CEO Michael Wright (far left) speaks on an IMARC 2022 panel in Sydney
CEO tells conference post-COVID cost pressures at 'next level'

Major surface mining contractor Thiess says an extension of its contract with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) at the Caval Ridge coking coal mine in Queensland could generate up to A$600 million of revenue over five years.

The new contract, due to start next month, continues Thiess’ provision of overburden mining services, and fleet operation and maintenance. It started working at Caval Ridge in 2017.

“Importantly, our team continues to have a clear commitment and focus on fostering diversity and respectful workplaces, with almost 30% of the workforce being female and 10% being Indigenous,” Thiess CEO Michael Wright said.

“We continue to seek opportunities to bring under-represented groups into the mining industry, and delivering sustainable mining solutions for our clients and stakeholders.”

Wright said at last week’s IMARC mining conference in Sydney supply chain and labour cost pressures had gone “to the next level” post-COVID as the major service provider looked to work with mining clients in seven countries to improve efficiency at the same time as better safety and environmental outcomes. “It’s really challenging to keep costs where they need to be to provide that sustainable mining service to our clients,” he said.

Wright agreed with other IMARC speakers that the industry faced a significant challenge to attract and retain workers and managers in an increasingly competitive labour market.

“I think we have in the past taken it for granted that we’ll get the people that we need to drive our businesses forward, and that’s just not the case anymore,” he said.

“Every time there is a bust we let go our graduates and we let go our apprentices and we stop training people and we focus short term on returns. And then no wonder when we’re in a boom cycle and we need people, that the people don’t come back.

“As an industry there’s a lot of work being done on … bringing under-representative people into our industry through diversity [initiatives] – that’s absolutely critical – and being more flexible with rosters so we can attract new people to the industry and make it a great place to work.

“We’ve got some work to do in the respectful workplace area; [there’s been] a lot of publicity around that. We have to create a safe place to work for all of our people wherever they work for us.

“We’ve got to develop our people, give them career paths they’re excited about and proud to be part of.”


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