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A new $7 billion mine in the Pilbara will mean that 10,000 workers will be needed – many from overseas.

It is the latest massive project and will put even more pressure on West Australia’s skills shortage.

But unions fear foreign semi-skilled workers will dominate the site at the expense of WA workers, after project operators Roy Hill applied in December to be part of a new federal Enterprise Migration Agreement allowing resource mega-projects to import overseas semi-skilled labour and trades people.

The spokesman for Roy Hill said the EMA was only intended to help make up any shortfall when recruiting a further 8000 temporary workers needed during construction of the mine, which is 110km north of Newman out in the desert.

“Once we’re in full operation, the intention is to create 2000 highly paid, full-time permanent jobs for Australians by the beginning of 2015, when we put the first ore on ship,” the spokesman said.”However, to get there, over a three-year period, that’s how long the construction phase goes, we’ve actually got to have 8000 construction workers.

“We will bring in people for a while, scaffolders or riggers, crane operators, or welders or boilermakers, they might be there for a certain phase within the project and then they go again.”

“Independent labour market analysts have said we’ve got a whole heap of shortages all through the project and we simply just can’t get all those (workers) from Australia.”

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