Western Desert Resources Project

During the production phase of the WDR Iron Ore Mine, Loading Facility and Haul Road development, PDG-NT assisted the Project with the implementation of Cultural Heritage Monitors linked to areas of interest and assisted in working towards an acceptable Agreement with the Wurrunburru Association in access through its Land. This was then followed up with the identification of local candidates suitable to work on their environmental team, linking local Borroloola people to employment opportunities on the mine site and the WDR Port Facility.

Upon closure of the WDR Iron Ore Mine, PDG-NT had then become engaged with the Ferrier Hodgson for asset management and security services, to initially monitor assets on the Bing Bong Loading Facility Site and about 80kms of the Haul Road, from the Nathan River to Bing Bong. This had been ongoing for 2.5 years and presented many challenges initially, at a local level. The main issue for local people was that we could not allow access, due to liability issues because the Haul Road was essentially still a part of a mining venture.

PDG-NT were then engaged to look after the whole Project when it went into liquidation and the previous caretaker of the mine site pulled out. Duncan Powell managed this and it went on for a year. In this time, we provided caretaker services to the WDR Iron Ore Mine site and security services for the Haul Road.


The labour hire opportunity first eventuated when PDG-NT engaged initially with exploration companies TECK Australia, MMG Mining, Amour Energy, and the then Redbank Mining.

As per previous section, all companies were initially engaged to support the implementation of Cultural Heritage Monitors in preparation of drilling programs to take place across respective tenements and licenses. This was then followed up with Field Assistant/Technician opportunities throughout the term of engagement and while ‘on the ground’ in Borroloola (dry seasonal work).

On-going pre-engagement Agreements were negotiated with Amour Energy and Imperial Oil and Gas prior to the cancellation of their exploration activities in the region. Both companies have expressed their interest in pursuing this once operations re-commence.

Cultural Heritage Clearances

Other activities undertaken were the engagement of Cultural Heritage Monitors for Cultural Heritage Site clearances in various areas around Borroloola mainly for exploration companies TECK Australia and MMG Mining. As per Native Title Agreements, exploration companies are required to carry out Cultural Heritage Site clearances to all licensed and permit projects where Cultural Heritage Sites may be located – prior to the commencement of the exploration activity.

As the NLC historically facilitated this initiative, they have implemented this strategy in the interests of Traditional Owner Groups and Cultural Heritage Sites. The Borroloola Regional Office was at the forefront having gained a lot of experience with implementation as the leading Region across all NLC Regions/Sites for this initiative.

As we had played a key role in this initiative, while with the NLC, we had been entrusted with the opportunity to continue in recent times as a local Indigenous entity. PDG-NT have been supported in this quest to respond to the Traditional Owners’ request in proceeding with the clearances to follow the precedent programs while allowing the opportunity for paid work.

The PDG-NT engagement often allowed for a quicker process of implementation while adhering to correct engagement of TO’s Land Ownership in respective areas, with the Borroloola region, although prefer the NLC to either manage this themselves one day or at least be involved in the process, as is more of a Heritage Agreement Initiative rather than a commercial activity.

Cultural Awareness

PDG-NT has developed a Cultural Awareness Workshop, which is specific to the Borroloola region, aimed at visiting contractors, industries and services. Previous clients include:

  • McArthur River Mines (the Extrada)
  • TECK Australia Exploration
  • MMG Mining Exploration
  • Imperial Oil and Gas

Cultural Awareness training can be implemented on request.

Civil Construction

PDG-NT was fortunate enough to be recruited by the Department of Infrastructure (now Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics), to be engaged as local contractors to provide an ongoing road maintenance service, primarily focused on repairing pot holes between Borroloola, Bing Bong and Cape Crawford, slashing on the road corridor around Borroloola and monthly road reports and inspections.

Along with 6 employees, PDG-NT also participated in traffic management training which gave 4 locals WZ2&3 qualifications and another 4 of us with WZ4s. All pot hole repair jobs are currently carried out per an approved TMP and traffic management is implemented.

PDG-NT were also involved in the recent application of a road tactile line marking program along various sections of the Stuart Highway, managed by the DoI and were engaged as mobile traffic management escorts in conjunction with Trafficwerx NT. The line marking group who secured the work was Avante (NSW company). This provided 8 weeks worth of practical experience and wages for 8 Borroloola residents.

Building and Construction

Another local opportunity facilitated by PDG-NT was building and construction work which involved the construction of the Territory Training Centre in Borroloola in which Harvey Developments were approached and then engaged for this to happen. We provided the labour hire for Harvey Developments and had 10 local people work on the project from the very beginning to the end.


This had been supported from the beginning with training support, provided by the Department of Business, Indigenous Response Program (IRP). This program was instrumental in providing participant confidence in the pursuit of developing relevant skill sets applicable to increasing individual chances at gaining employment within the region.

Some of the training programs included:

  • Certificate II in Surface Extraction (ECB Training)
  • Certificate II Civil Constriction (Civil Train)
  • Traffic Management (Civil Train)
  • Certificate II Construction (Carey Training)

So as to better prepare some of our participants and create further opportunities, surface extraction training was implemented through ECB Training. Twenty participants initially signed up and 12 completed. This was the very first of the training components and a lot was gained and learnt from this experience.

Training was also sought and implemented through Carey Training, in which they ran a Certificate II in Construction. Ten local people participated and 6 completed. We have further plans to purse building construction, repairs and maintenance in future where opportunities exist.

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