Aboriginal cultural awareness training for mine employees: Good intentions, complicated outcomes

Joni Parmenter, David Trigger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Web of Science)


In the Australian context, training for employees to impart ‘cultural awareness’ concerning Indigenous people has recently become a common feature of workplace inductions within the mining industry. The training aims to foster good relationships between companies and Aboriginal Traditional Owners of land and increase Aboriginal employment within the industry by educating miners about ‘Aboriginal culture’. However, there have been few investigations focused on how the training is constructed, delivered, its content, or efficacy. This article presents an overview of how this training is being implemented at several major Rio Tinto Iron Ore (RTIO) mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The study finds that the corporate sector's commitment to educating workers about cultural difference is difficult to achieve in this highly politicised setting. The paper argues for an understanding of the complexities and strategic politics involved in implementing Aboriginal cultural awareness training to avoid both naïve expectations and unintended negative consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Aboriginal cultural awareness training for mine employees: Good intentions, complicated outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this