Written on the 22 January 2018


Sheffield is pleased to advise that it has today launched the Thunderbird Group Training Program, announced on 4 December 2017 as part of an additional $750,000 funding package to advance Aboriginal trainees into employment at Thunderbird.

The Program has enabled graduates of Sheffield's Work Ready Programs (WRP) to be employed with Broome-based Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation's Group Training Program, for the Thunderbird Project.

Trainees in the Program will rotate through a variety of activities including Early Works at the Thunderbird Project and placements with other Kimberley-based construction businesses, as they work towards a Certificate 3 in Civil Construction and a construction role on the Thunderbird Project.

Graduates of the recently completed 16-week WRP participated in the selection process, with 8 graduates being offered employment in the inaugural Thunderbird Group Training Program. Sheffield is providing transport, accommodation and meals as part of replicating the future work environment at the Thunderbird Project. Mentors and a range of support services are also being provided to the trainees, who hail from the West Kimberley - Derby, Pandanus Park and Broome.

Sheffield continues to advance the development of the Thunderbird Project with environmental and heritage matters being identified and addressed with the Environmental Protection Authority, which has recommended Project approval.

Sheffield has engaged local contractors to progress initial approved earthworks and access arrangements at the Project, where the trainees will undertake most of their work placements.

Sheffield has also secured binding agreements for 74% of Thunderbird stage 1 Premium Zircon and 100% of zircon concentrate, representing more than 50% of total revenue and non-binding agreements for almost 50% of Thunderbird stage 1 ilmenite.

Project financing is advanced with Taurus Mining Finance agreeing to arrange and underwrite a US$200M Project Development Facility.

In late 2017, the Federal Court handed down a decision which changed the previously understood interpretation of the Native Title Act. As a result, Sheffield and the Native Title Party will participate in a re-hearing in the National Native Title Tribunal, expected Q1 2018. This matter must be settled in advance of the granting of the Mining Lease.

The proposed Thunderbird Project on the Dampier Peninsula located midway between Derby and Broome offers local long-term jobs and a much-needed boost to the economy.

Sheffield's 'Pledge to the Kimberley Community' includes:

  • 220 Project jobs increasing to 280 by 2024 for the life of the mine
  • A locally-based DIDO operational workforce, over 42 years
  • Local content, jobs, training and business contracts
  • An estimated $100 million1 in royalties to Traditional Owners over the life of the mine
  • Building to 40 percent Aboriginal employment within the first 8 years of operations

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