• The Alcan Gove Alumina refinery in the Northern Territory, Australia (AAP) (ALCAN SOUTH PACIFIC)Source: ALCAN SOUTH PACIFIC
The community of Nhulunbuy says it is on the road to recovery after Rio Tinto wound back its alumina refinery operations in 2014.
Natalie Ahmat

5 Aug 2015 - 5:04 PM  UPDATED 5 Aug 2015 - 6:53 PM

Late in 2014 mining giant Rio Tinto announced it would wind down its operations at its alumina refinery in the Northern Territory town of Nhulumbuy.

The announcement about the Alcan Gove Alumina Refinery was an economic blow to the Nhulunbuy community and left many people fearing for their future. More than a thousand people lost their jobs and left town, which caused a flow-on effect as businesses and services were forced to shut their doors.

But 18 months on, Gumatj Corporation's Gabirri Yunupingu said things were starting to turn around in the Top End town with his family working to grow employment opportunities. 

"My father's vision was to get people into jobs and employment, and yeah, we're doing it"

"My father's vision was to get people into jobs and employment, and yeah, we're doing it, so it's looking up for us," he told NITV News. 

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While the refinery has closed, mining still remains a big part of this town. Bauxite is still mined by the company here and now Gumatj people are also getting in on the act by opening their own mine and training centre.

"I congratulate the Gumatj with a vision and Rio Tinto has come in behind that with financial support of $2.4 million," said Phil Strachan from Rio Tinto.


But Gumatj people said they were being careful not to put all their eggs in the mining basket. The money received through royalties is being invested in other businesses and training.