Macmahon is heavily reliant on its contract at Tropicana Gold Mine, 220km east of Kalgoorlie. Picture: Bill Hatto

A mental health program focused on alleviating the mental health stresses felt by fly-in, fly-out workers in an attempt to address on-site depression and anxiety is being trialled at one of the Goldfields’ major gold mines.

About 300 FIFO contractors, employed by Perth-based mining services group Macmahon Holdings, took part in the initiative at AngloGold Ashanti and Independence Group’s Tropicana Gold Mine during pre-start meetings yesterday.

The three-day program — dubbed Strong Minds, Strong Mines — was developed by Macmahon with not-for-profit group Rural and Remote Mental Health.

 It is designed to address the mental health challenges faced by remote mining workers by discussing mental health, anxiety, depression, suicide prevention, relationships and financial stress.

Macmahon health, safety, environment, quality and training manager Kale Ross said the program would act as a support network for workers who were away from family for extended periods.

“Macmahon recognises that having a FIFO-based workforce requires a proactive approach to preventing mental harm issues in the workplace,” he said.

“To this end, we searched for mental health specialists who understand the specific challenges facing the FIFO lifestyle.

“As a mining contractor with a workforce across multiple projects, it’s important that we do our best to keep our people safe.

“Providing a comprehensive mental health program will provide a deeper level of support to help increase the mental wellness and resilience of our workforce.”

The initiative is expected to be rolled out for Macmahon workers at Dacian Gold’s Mt Morgan project, 20km west of Laverton, and Newcrest Mining’s Telfer operation in the Pilbara shorty.

Mr Ross said Macmahon aimed to expand the program to its other mines over the next year.  

This piece was first seen on ‘The West Australian‘, 18 April 2018. 

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