Fortescue Metals Group Limited (Fortescue) has marked a significant achievement for Aboriginal business development by facilitating a 50/50 joint venture agreement between Pilbara Native Title group Wirlu-murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (Wirlu-murra) and Global Mining Services Provider Thiess Pty Ltd (Thiess).
The contract is worth approximately $85 million over three years, and will see the joint venture undertake maintenance of non-processing infrastructure - such as camps, administration offices, water bores and dewatering infrastructure - at Fortescue’s Solomon mine in the Pilbara.
The new contract builds on the existing $75 million contract that Wirlu-murra already has in place for earthworks and road maintenance for Fortescue with an Eastern Guruma owned business.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Nev Power commended the joint venture, acknowledging the employment opportunities that would be created for Pilbara Aboriginal people across a variety of different trades and skills.
“The benefits that will arise out of this Joint Venture are significant for the Yindjibarndi People. There will be opportunities for Yindjibarndi apprentices, trainees and qualified tradespeople, providing career pathways that lead to long-term, sustainable employment,” he said.
“The new contract is evidence of Fortescue’s commitment to deliver lasting opportunities for sustainable economic growth to the Aboriginal communities we work with.
“We congratulate Wirlu-murra on their commitment to building capability and creating generational change for the Yindjibarndi people.”
The contract has been awarded as part of Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program, which has awarded 200 contracts and sub-contracts worth over $1.8 billion to Aboriginal-owned businesses and joint ventures since December 2011.
The Billion Opportunities initiative was recognised last month at the Supply Nation Supplier Diversity Awards, where Fortescue was awarded the Corporate Member of the Year and Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year Awards at the annual conference.