The primary objective of this research project is to assist the mining industry manage workforce turnover more effectively, especially in fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) operations. A secondary objective is to map out an agenda for further research in the area. The project arose from consultations with mining industry representatives, who identified turnover as an important issue for the industry and drew attention to the adverse economic, operational and social impacts of workforce instability. The research has been conducted jointly by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) and the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC), with funding provided through the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI).
The study draws on data from three mines in Western Australia and six in northern Queensland. Seven of these sites are wholly or partly FIFO operations. Two townbased sites were included for comparative purposes. A case study methodology was used; data being collected from interviews, company records, public documents and site visits. Site based human resource (HR) managers were the primary group of interviewees, however other sections of mine management were interviewed where possible. All participating sites provided the research team with a substantial amount of documentary material and statistical data, in addition to the interview data.