RIO Tinto Iron Ore has announced it will start a fly-in, fly-out commute roster from Carnarvon, adding to services it has started in Geraldton and Busselton. Rio Tinto’s managing director of Pilbara mine operations, Greg Lilleyman, said the Carnarvon FIFO program was part of a broader strategy to provide employees with a range of work and lifestyle options. ‘‘We employ approximately 6,500 people and around 6,000 contractors and we will need to recruit many more to cater for our planned expansion to 320 million tonnes in 2012, and beyond that towards 420 million tonnes,” Mr Lilleyman said. “Given the tight labour market across Australian industry, we intend to provide our employees a wider range of lifestyle options, such as FIFO from regional locations around the state. “Our first regional FIFO program started from Geraldton to the West Pilbara in 2006 and we started a program from Busselton to the East Pilbara last year. We also started two FIFO commutes for indigenous employees from Broome and Port Hedland to our East Pilbara mines. “By establishing a regional FIFO service from Carnarvon to our West Pilbara mines...we hope to meet two key objectives – to open up a new and sustainable labour market in the Gascoyne for FIFO employees, and to significantly increase the employment of Aboriginal people in our business.” Mr Lilleyman said recruitment would start immediately with flights expected mid-year. The program will start with a weekly flight in a light aircraft from Carnarvon to Brockman and Paraburdoo, before returning to Carnarvon later in the day.