Rio Tinto has awarded Aboriginal businesses in the Pilbara contracts worth more than $41mn associated with the development of its 43 million tonnes per year Koodaideri iron ore project in Western Australia.
The $3.5bn project moved into construction earlier this year and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. White Springs, the largest Aboriginal recipient of awards, will supply more than 600,000 tonnes of ballast for the Koodaideri mine rail line. Bea Bea Creek quarry, the first indigenous-owned and operated quarry in Western Australia, will be established to fulfil the contract.
Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive, Chris Salisbury, commented: “We’ve been operating in the Pilbara for more than 50 years and we couldn’t have built the world-class iron ore business we have today without the support of local and Pilbara Aboriginal businesses.
“These contract awards highlight the growing level of expertise that sit within these businesses and we are proud to be partnering with them to help develop our most technologically advanced mine.”
Other recent significant awards to Aboriginal businesses for work on the Koodaideri project include:
Kurtarra Cape USA JV
Kurtarra, as part of the Kurtarra Cape USA, will install 170 km of fibre optic cable as part of the new rail line after securing a contract. Kurtarra was established in 2012 and is a 100% Aboriginal family-owned company originating from the Palkyu area of the Pilbara.
Ngurrara will undertake earthworks for construction of the Pelican Rail Camp. Ngurrara is a wholly-owned Pilbara Aboriginal business and has Indigenous engagement management plans in place to support local Aboriginal communities.
Yanagu Horizon will perform the bulk earthworks and drainage works for the Crossing Rail Camp. As well as being a Pilbara Aboriginal business, Yanagu’s JV partner, Yurala Contracting, is owned and operated by Banjima Traditional Owners, whose country is located in Central Pilbara.
Construction & Development Solutions (iCads)
iCads will undertake project surveying services to support the construction of the mine and rail scope for the project. iCads is a 51% Aboriginal-owned business that offers attractive employment and subcontracting opportunities for Pilbara Aboriginal businesses.
Karlka Fencewright WA
Karlka Fencewright will supply and install the fence along the northern rail alignment. Karlka Fencewright is a 100% Pilbara Aboriginal business owned by Karlka Developments, which is the commercial arm of the Pilbara-based Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation. It’s a wholly-owned Traditional Owner company registered in the Pilbara.
Yurala (trading as Yurala Aboriginal Contracting Services)
Yurala has secured a contract to undertake miscellaneous earthworks along the Koodaideri project’s rail alignment and the associated roads. Yurala is a 100% Pilbara Aboriginal-owned business, its owner representing the Banjima people who are recognised as the traditional owners of the Central Pilbara.
Lorrex Contracting is responsible for the construction of three access roads within the mine site. The works comprise clearing, bulk earthworks, drainage and pavement construction. Lorrex Contracting is an incorporated Aboriginal business with equal ownership between Lorrex Civil and Mining Pty Ltd and iContracting Pty Ltd. Lorrex Civil and Mining Pty Ltd is located in the Youngaleena Community, which is situated to the west of the Koodaideri mine site.
Koodaideri, 100%-owned by Rio Tinto, is located around 35 km northwest of Rio Tinto’s Yandicoogina mine site, and about 110 km from the town of Newman. The $2.6bn mine was approved in November last year with construction commencing earlier this year. Production capacity of the mine will be 43Mt annually and is expected to commence by the end of 2021.