BHP has increased its value to local communities at the Olympic Dam copper mine in South Australia, including a refuelling contract for Indigenous-owned business Zancott Knight.
Speaking at the Copper to the World conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Olympic Dam asset president Jennifer Purdie revealed the company’s continued support of local communities.
“During the height of last year’s COVID-19 pandemic, BHP moved to quicker payment terms as a temporary measurement to provide additional support for small, local and Indigenous business,” Purdie said.
“It was just one tangible way we could show our appreciation for the support of our communities over our history and one way we could help these businesses though a challenging period.
“Following overwhelmingly positive feedback from our supply partners, we’ve now reinstated seven-day fast-track payments for small, local, and Indigenous business.”
Building on this support for local businesses, BHP has awarded a $1.8 million refuelling services contract to Zancott Knight, who are closely connected to the Arabana Aboriginal community.
Zancott also involved Indigenous-owned subcontractor WB Enterprises, furthering BHP’s support of the community.
Purdie described the need for the Zancott contract.
“Of course, our Olympic Dam community extends to our contracting partners,” she said.
“And in the leadup to our 20-year rebuild of our flash furnace, our smelter maintenance (SCM21) team has been actively seeking out opportunities for local, small and Indigenous businesses to be part of the action.
“Strengthening our relationship with Traditional Owners is one of the key priorities for myself and the Olympic Dam team this year.”
BHP spends approximately $US2 billion ($2.73 billion) per year on small, local and Indigenous businesses, according to Purdie.
Speaking on the outlook for Olympic Dam and BHP more widely in South Australia, Purdie said exploration across the region was looking promising for the company and the community.
“The Oak Dam prospect as well as other announcements from other local explorers tells us there is a high likelihood of even more exciting mineral deposits right here in South Australia,” Purdie said.
“And we are certainly thinking about the ore bodies in the region which are being uncovered and how they may contribute to our future growth.”