Mining giants and local business partner to establish Geraldton as a machinery servicing hub

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
Mid West Development Commission deputy chairman Craig Patterson, Rio Tinto’s Richard Cohen, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and WesTrac chief executive Jarvas Croome in Geraldton.
Camera IconMid West Development Commission deputy chairman Craig Patterson, Rio Tinto’s Richard Cohen, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and WesTrac chief executive Jarvas Croome in Geraldton. Credit: Phoebe Pin

Several new heavy machinery servicing projects officially launched in the Mid West this week have put Geraldton on the road to becoming a major player in the State’s mining industry, says Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

Ms MacTiernan was in Geraldton on Monday to visit the local WesTrac facility which will now rebuild, refit and maintain up to 12 of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara-based heavy machines each year.

The equipment would otherwise be transported to Perth for maintenance, with Rio Tinto managing director for Pilbara port, rail and core services Richard Cohen saying sending equipment to Geraldton was a no-brainer.

“It is safer because there is less road travel, it is going to be good for productivity, it is going to be good for cost ... it is just a win-win,” he said.

WesTrac chief executive Jarvas Croome said each rebuild would cost between $500,000 and $1 million, with the partnership to support skills development in the region.

“By bringing different equipment in and different models in we can continue to build that diverse skills workforce who are best able to support the long-term industry needs,” he said.

Ms MacTiernan also officiated the opening of the first heavy-vehicle brake- testing facility in Geraldton, located at JMH Group’s Narngulu workshop.

Supported by a $66,700 Regional Economic Development grant, the facility will conduct brake testing, steering and suspension inspection and weighing vehicles in one drive-through process, reducing downtime and identifying faults before failure occurs.

JHM Group company directors Leah Hirst and Jaydon Hirst with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan
Camera IconJHM Group company directors Leah Hirst and Jaydon Hirst with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan Credit: Geraldton Guardian

JMH Group company director Jaydon Hirst said he was passionate about improving the safety of heavy vehicle travel in WA.

“Safety is everything, it is about my family your family driving on the road and being safe,” he said.

“Slowly as we create the education and awareness, we would like to see more people get on-board and run the machines and the trucks through here,” he said.

Ms MacTiernan said both projects captured the essence of the aim of future regional development works.

“This is almost an emblematic project for Geraldton because it is recognising its unique capacity to really become a mining equipment, technology and services centre,” she said.

“Geraldton can become a place that can fulfil a big role in servicing not only its local Mid West mining sector but really making a big contribution to servicing that massive demand across WA.”

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