Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO), operated by BHP Billiton, mines manganese from a number of leases on the western coastal plain of the island Groote Eylandt. The island has an area of 2,260 square kilometres and is wholly owned by the Anindilyakwa Aboriginal people. The mine is located in a part of Australia where documented knowledge of plant species is limited, and successful rehabilitation can be difficult. The company therefore looked to the traditional owners to assist in returning their land to the way it was.
GEMCO committed to an employment and training program for the Anindilyakwan people. The Aboriginal Employment Strategy has grown to now involve 28 local people carrying out most rehabilitation tasks on site, including all seed collection, direct seeding and planting of seedlings, along with all weed control. This provides them with the skills to pursue a career with either GEMCO or the mainstream mining industry.
Significant training has been provided to allow all revegetation activities to be achieved in an efficient and professional manner and GEMCO relies on the local knowledge of employees.