Fortescue Metals Group has marked a significant milestone for Aboriginal business development when it facilitated the signing of a joint venture agreement between NRW Pty Ltd (NRW) and Njamal ICRG JV Pty Ltd, in preparation for bulk earthworks at the Iron Bridge Project in the Pilbara.
The Iron Bridge Project is situated on the traditional lands of the Njamal People, who entered into a Project Area Agreement with Fortescue in 2011.
The agreement provides Fortescue with native title clearances over land required by the project in exchange for the Njamal People becoming co-owners and operators of a separate magnetite mine on their land.
The joint venture with major tier one civil and mining contractor NRW enables the Njamal community to develop their business skills and provide employment opportunities to their people.
Njamal ICRG JV Director Sharon McGann commented on the benefits the agreement represents for the Njamal community: “The Joint Venture is a significant milestone as it is the first of its kind for Njamal people. This inaugural Joint Venture provides a pathway to self-sustainability and independence through employment, training and ground breaking business opportunities. Njamal people can now participate in our mining agreements with a renewed focus, and greater parity.”
This is not a first for NRW on Fortescue projects, having already delivered a $200 million joint venture project with Pilbara Traditional Owner businesses Eastern Guruma Pty Ltd and Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd (NYFL) for bulk earthworks at Fortescue’s Solomon mine. Leading mining industry contractor ICRG (Indigenous Construction Resources Group) is supporting Njamal to develop its capabilities and manage its working relationships with NRW and Fortescue for the Iron Bridge project.
NRW’s General Manager Mining Allan Fidock reiterated the company’s commitment to providing sustainable opportunities to the people and communities in which they operate: “NRW is delighted and very proud to be a partner in this Joint Venture with the Njamal community and ICRG. We look forward to a successful partnership and to helping the Njamal people grow a sustainable business with opportunities benefiting the whole community.”
Peter Meurs, Fortescue’s Director of Development, said: “This is such a significant opportunity for Njamal to build their business capability with an experienced contractor such as NRW. The joint venture model is effective because it is a mutually beneficial arrangement that sees both the contractor and the Aboriginal owned business bringing value to the relationship.”