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Roc-Drill is relocating its headquarters to Townsville after winning a six-year contract to conduct production blast hole drilling at the Ravenswood Gold mine.

The company plans to have 11 silenced drills and a large array of support equipment on the project, as well as employing more than 70 local personnel at the gold site.

The Epiroc T40 and T45 drills on the project would represent the largest fleet of silenced drills in the world, Roc-Drill managing director Nigel de Veth said.

He said the company would be on site at Ravenswood in late November, and expected to build the project team up to 70 over the next 12 months.

All would come from the Townsville, Ravenswood and Charters Towers region, he said.

The jobs would include positions such as labourers, drillers, drill fitters and drill-bit refurbishers, as well as site administration.

New owners at the Ravenswood mine are ramping up activity at the site to return to large-scale open-pit mining under the Ravenswood Expansion Plan (REP), which is expected to take mining operations out until 2034.

Ravenswood Gold chief executive officer Brett Fletcher has said the REP will see 250 new permanent positions, the retention of 160 existing positions and a further 150 positions during the construction phase.

It comes after EMR Capital and Golden Energy and Resources (GEAR) bought the North Queensland gold operation in a $300 million deal with Resolute Mining this year.

Following on from the contract win, Roc-Drill will set up a new head office in Townsville, including workshop facilities, to better service its clients in North and North-West Queensland.

“It’s just a good fit for the business,” Mr de Veth said.

Existing Roc-Drill projects in the region include Osborne underground, Lady Annie and Lorena in North-West Queensland.

Townsville will also provide better access for Roc-Drill’s work at McArthur River mine in the Northern Territory and in PNG.

The company’s major rebuild facility in Wacol, Brisbane, where it is presently headquartered, will remain operational.

Mr de Veth said the establishment of the new headquarters and workshop in Townsville would also create new work and training opportunities in the region.

“We put apprentices on and we’re engaging the JT Academy for our local Indigenous engagement up there,” Mr de Veth said.