Atlas Iron has handed a joint venture mining contract to East West Pilbara (EWP) and Ozland at its Miralga Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia.
The contract entails load and haul, and drill and blast services at Miralga Creek which is currently under construction and is due to haul first ore by April 2022.
Atlas Iron is a Pilbara-based iron ore miner and a subsidiary of Hancock Prospecting.
EWP is an Indigenous businesses connected with Atlas Iron through its Traditional Owner group Nyamal, while Ozland is a private local drilling and blasting services businesses.
EWP managing director Troy Eaton said the contract was a watershed moment for the region and its people.
“This will be the first Indigenous business in the Pilbara to be awarded such a valuable contract to conduct these specific mining services on their own native title lands,” Eaton said.
“I know my grandfather and Nyamal man, Ernest Mitchell would be so proud of what we have achieved together, he has always believed that mining could benefit his people and first started looking for commercial opportunities in the 1960s.”
Miralga Creek is an extension of the Abydos mine and is expected to produce over eight million tonnes of ore at 57.12 per cent iron for a four-to-five-year mine life.
Atlas Iron chief executive officer Sanjiv Manchanda said what was equally important to the operation was the way Atlas Iron worked with the communities it stands to serve.
“We can have our strategy and our business plans, but what defines Atlas Iron is how we go about achieving those strategies and plans,” he said.
“We are so delighted to be sharing this vision with the Nyamal people, specifically via EWP which is the culmination of a long held desire from Troy’s grandfather to access economic benefits for his people.
“We understand it is the first partnership between a company like ours and a Traditional Owner business, to conduct mining services on their own lands.”
Atlas Iron expects to employ around 300 people directly and indirectly at Miralga Creek.