The ABC Queensland programme "The7.30 Report" recently featured an item about Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) mining in Queensland. Whilst the main focus was the FIFO versus local based labour debate, the item raised some interesting facts on the growth of the FIFO industry.
Currently 75% of Queensland's mining workforce are classed as non resident or FIFO. The Bowen Basin, which is the State's largest mining area, has about 50% FIFO workforce. Over the next 10 years the adjacent Galilee Basin is expected to be developed. The current forecast that 95% of the Galilee Basin work force will be FIFO. By 2020 it is predicted the mining industry will be employing 100,000 workers directly with the majority being FIFO.
The Gold Coast City Council is currently in talks the owners of the Gold Coast Airport to build a new dedicated terminal to cater to the FIFO mining industry. The Gold Coast is keen to participate in the boom to provide better opportunities for local residents.
The nature of the FIFO operations requires the work force to be transported to the work site and back home on a short regular basis. By 2020 there could be up to 100000 workers flown around Queensland every week. The aircraft that are regularly utilised for FIFO operations usually have a capacity of less then 100 passengers due to mine site logisitics. As a result growth in FIFO operations will create demand for all aviation related facilities including ATC. The growth will not be limited to Queensland but also to Western Australia and South Australia which also have a robust FIFO work force.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-02/story-2/3755714?section=business for a copy of the report.