The FIFO resort: Is this the end of donga living?

Image courtesy of Mineral Resources.

Mineral Resources is building resort-style accommodation villages for employees in Western Australia. Is this the end of the donga?

Is this the end of the humble donga?

Mineral Resources (or MinRes) recently announced it’s about to begin construction on two resort-style accommodation villages for employees at its Onslow Iron project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The villages will comprise 750 rooms, each spanning 45 square metres of living space—three times the size of traditional FIFO accommodation. The apartment-like rooms will feature a queen-size bed, separate ensuite, laundry with washer and dryer, kitchenette, lounge, big screen television with video call function and a balcony.

In a statement, MinRes claimed the villages would “set a new standard for the fly-in fly-out lifestyle in Australia’s mining and resources industry”.

Winning hearts and minds when competition for labour is fierce

In an industry, and a state, where competition for labour is extremely tight, mining companies are finding increasingly inventive ways to encourage skilled workers to choose them over the competition, and to stay with the company once they’re on board. While FIFO workers can’t work from home—one of the most common lifestyle or work-life balance perks modern employees ask for in the post-pandemic era—they can feel more at home when they’re at work.


Chief People and Shared Services Officer Bronwyn Grieve said the company recognised that its people were “the foundation of MinRes’ success”.

“That’s why we’ll give them the best FIFO village experience in the sector,” she said.

“As the race to attract and retain the best talent intensifies, we know our focus on workplace wellness will help set us apart.

“We’re rolling out resort-style accommodation villages across our long-life mine sites, starting with Onslow Iron. The accommodation and amenities at Onslow Iron will set a new standard, helping to change the FIFO culture and contribute to the project’s success.”

The plan is to roll out resort-style accommodation to MinRes’ other sites in WA, starting later this year at the Mt Marion lithium operation near Kalgoorlie.

Adding lifestyle to the FIFO experience

MinRes said each pair of rooms (called a “pod”) will be linked by walkways and configured like a resort, with shared gathering spaces, barbecue areas and places for quiet reflection. An Olympic-size swimming pool, indoor fitness centre and gym, café serving barista-made coffee and a recreation building with a cinema, golf simulators and pool tables are among the features.

MinRes is also building multipurpose courts for basketball, tennis and volleyball; a football oval with goalposts; cricket nets; a mini golf course; a fitness park with outdoor gym facilities; and a wellness loop with running track.

A restaurant will serve an à la carte menu and have alfresco dining.

The question now is will other mining companies be racing to catch up? Is this the beginning of the end for the donga?

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Dan Hatch
Mining People International