THE Ichthys Project is now one step closer to commencing construction, after the first stage of the workers’ village at Howard Springs was completed late last week.

Up to 1,000 workers will soon move into stage one of Manigurr-ma Village, which is expected to accommodate up to 3,500 workers by 2014 and will feature a 50-seat cinema, internet café and swimming pool.

The village operator, ESS Larrakia, will hold regular information sessions in the greater Darwin area in an effort to provide local workers with the best possible opportunity to join the 200-strong workforce to be charged with managing the village on a round-the-clock basis.

Currently, village construction has created 400 employment opportunities, 90% of which are occupied by local Territory residents.

“The Ichthys project is the Territory’s largest oil and gas investment and Japan’s biggest offshore investment anywhere in the world,” chief minister Adam Giles said.

“Around 60% of the $260 million capital expenditure for the workers village has been committed to local contracts.”

More than $5bn is forecast to be spent by the Ichthys Project in the Northern Territory, operated by prominent AMMA member INPEX.