AUSTRALIA – Failing to find workers for the Curtin potash project, the joint venture partners have recruited prisoners from the Northern Territory. The project, 260 km southwest of Alice Springs, is a joint venture of Rum Jungle Resources and Reward Minerals.
The territorial government has approved the use of prison labourers under its "Sentenced to a Job" scheme. The arrangement allows prisoners to be trained and work at either public or private projects. When their prison term is over, they may be offered full time jobs.
The workers will receive a salary while at the mine. Prisoners will pay $125 from each paycheck to go towards their board expenses in jail. A further 5% will go to a victims' assistance fund. Each worker will receive $60 a week in his pocket, and the remainder of the wages goes into a trust fund all of which will be paid to them when they are released from prison.
A similar program supplied low security prisoners during construction of BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.