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  • RDA Pilbara

New migrant services, a busy week of events and an electric future for our ore

RDA Pilbara regularly compiles a wrap of news that's important to industries and communities in the region and also the highlights of our activities on the ground.  


Read on for what's been happening from January 25 to February 9. 


RDA Pilbara now offering Settlement Services  We’re delighted to announce that RDA Pilbara continues to expand its work to help address the region’s workforce needs – with a new Settlement Services offering announced this week. 


With the support of funding from the Department of Training and Workforce Development, RDA Pilbara will assist new migrants and improve their connections with essential services and community. 


The aim is to create a sense of welcoming and belonging, connect migrants and their families with essential services, expand a migrant workers’ network and contribute to attracting and retaining migrants in regional areas.  


The Settlement Services program fits neatly with our role with the Pilbara’s Designated Area Migration Agreement, which helps local businesses attract skilled workers for in-demand positions amid a continued skills shortage.  

 Settlement Services are now available via phone and email for migrants who are arriving or have arrived in the Pilbara in the past 12 months, with a walk-in service also available at the RDA Pilbara office in Karratha. 

 For more information, please contact Natalie Drabble: / 0499 325 584 


A busy week of events in the Pilbara  The holiday period lull is very much over, with a couple of well-attended and significant events in Karratha and Port Hedland this week. 


The Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Business After Hours event was sponsored by Saipem and Clough and offered an opportunity to hear more about their joint venture project constructing the $6 billion Perdaman Urea Plant. 


The plant is set to create 1600 jobs during construction with another 200 operational roles, and annual production is expected to nearly match the amount of urea Australia currently imports each year. 


Meanwhile, in Port Hedland, Fortescue launched its latest employee development initiative – GIFT, Giving In Fortescue Together. 


The pilot program, a collaboration with Pilbara Kimberley Universities Centre, is aimed at providing Fortescue’s First Nations employees with an opportunity to pursue higher education in engineering. 


The course will cover four key units delivered by Curtin University staff in a tailored  hybrid mode. 


Twelve Fortescue employees will make up the program’s inaugural intake. 

Pilbara iron ore identified for electric future  There was some exciting news this week from two of our region’s mining stalwarts – Rio Tinto and BHP – with confirmation that iron ore from the Pilbara will spearhead investigations into the development of Australia's first ironmaking Electric Smelting Furnace (ESF) pilot plant. 


Rio Tinto and BHP will partner with BlueScope on the development of a new low-carbon steel smelting technology that could be trialled as early as 2027. 


The technology is designed specifically to use Pilbara iron ore as a feedstock and would offer an alternative to traditional blast furnace methods. 



Karratha Fire Station gets an upgrade  WA Minister for Emergency Services Stephen Dawson had a productive trip to the Pilbara this week – not only attending Fortescue’s GIFT event but also announcing the refurbishiment of the Karratha Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service. 


The $1 million station upgrade includes a new training room, kitchen, office space, tunic room, enhanced change room and additional storage. 


The KVFRS, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2023, does an outstanding job helping keep the local community safe, responding to more than 200 incidents in the past year. 



Getting to the Pilbara...the hard way  Plenty of people take a winding route to the Pilbara – but the one navigated by Jigalong’s newest teachers is perhaps more winding than most! 


For starters, James Giddings and Paula McIver are both British and now find themselves working in an outback community of a little more than 300 people. 


They also arrived in the Pilbara in late January following a tropical low that resulted in road closures. After some assistance from the Newman community and a scenic light plane flight, the pair and their four collective dogs eventually made it to Jigalong. 


Welcome to the Pilbara! 


You can read ABC Pilbara’s excellent story on this here:  



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