Stakeholders hope to have WA’s first Aboriginal Mining Academy ready and accepting its first students within 12 months.

Carey Mining and Curtin University signed a memorandum of understanding this week in the presence of Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt to progress plans for the academy’s inclusion at the West Australian School of Mines.

Mr Wyatt said he wanted to see Aboriginal people employed at the “most senior level” of Australian corporations.

“What we can do here is bring together that great entrepreneurial spirit Aboriginals have, that desire to be part of the wealth creation of this nation, with something else we do really well: mine,” he said.

“It wasn’t that long ago the mining industry had a very fractious relationship with Aboriginal people.

“In a very short time, in my lifetime, the miners of Australia I think have led the relationship development between industry and Aboriginal people.

“Aboriginal people live on-country, they don’t want to fly-in, fly-out, they want to work where they are from, so I think there is huge opportunity for the mining sector and huge opportunity for Aboriginal people.”

Carey Mining Chief Executive Allan James said the academy would improve access to senior mining roles for Aboriginal people.

“Historically the mining sector does entry-level roles really well,” he said.

“Our partnership with WASM allows us to look at those professional entry-level roles at the top end of the scale.

“Engineers, HR, accountants — a whole range of professional careers by forming a relationship with Curtin, allows us to have that broad spectrum of opportunities.

“We have a bit of work to do around the feasibility, so ideally in a perfect world we are looking for some time in the next 12 months.”

Mr James said the academy would work with school students, education programs and mature-age job-seekers.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said WASM was a perfect partner for the academy.

“We have an institution here with over 100 years of history in the Goldfields coming together with a new and emerging organisation of the Aboriginal Mining Academy,” she said.

“It will create something sensational and start to really open up opportunities for Aboriginal people, right from truck drivers to mining engineering.”

WASM Director Sabina Shugg said the academy would add to the work the organisation was doing to boost training prospects in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Image: WASM Director Sabina Shugg, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt, Carey Mining's Allan James and Daniel Tucker, and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

Picture: Tom Zaunmayr.