Traditional Owners move forward on path to economic independence

Mar 7, 2013

Martu Idja Banjima (MIB) of the central Pilbara is expanding its business offerings to the mining industry in a demonstration of why economic participation is a better model than mining handouts, Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Nev Power said today.

Only a year after joining forces with Morris Corporation to provide catering and facilities management services at Fortescue’s Solomon mine, MIB has expanded its business by purchasing 25 per cent of construction signage company Corsign.

The traditional owner group also recently established their own traffic management business which undertook work on the Fortescue Hamersley Line.

“Fortescue maintains that economic participation opens up possibilities for Aboriginal businesses to use profits and skills gained from running a business to build capacity and move toward a level of genuine economic independence that can outlast the life of a mine,” Mr Power said.

“The old model of mining companies paying money into trusts for disbursement by the few, rather than delivering meaningful jobs and economic participation to the many, has failed to address the disparity suffered by Aboriginal people. That is why Fortescue is taking a different tack.”

MIB Director Carmen Murdock applauded the work that Fortescue is doing for Aboriginal businesses and particularly the passion and commitment demonstrated by Manager Aboriginal Business Development Heath Nelson.

“Fortescue is bringing Aboriginal people and contractors to the table, which is exactly what Aboriginal businesses need,” Ms Murdock said.

“The rest is up to us to build our capacity and invest our profits into new development opportunities. Fortescue has provided fantastic support, helping to break down the barriers to economic development for Aboriginal people.”

Corsign Sales Director Adam Smith said they were excited to involve MIB as their business partner.

“They are committed to the growth of the business through the development of more opportunities,” Mr Smith said.

Fortescue awarded Leighton Contractors a US$1.5 billion five year contract in September 2012 for Firetail mining and operations at Solomon, 65 kilometres north of Tom Price. Leighton has since contracted Corsign to provide signage.

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