Fortescue Metals Group’s Billion Opportunities program has marked a significant milestone, celebrating more than $4 billion in contracts and sub-contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses since the initiative was launched in 2011.
A critical element of Fortescue’s approach to ensuring economic opportunity for the communities in which the Company operates, the initiative promotes sustainable business development for Aboriginal people by building the capability and capacity of Aboriginal businesses.
Fortescue Director Communities, Environment and Government Warren Fish said the company recognised that strong, sustainable Aboriginal businesses create employment and development opportunities for Aboriginal Australians.
“We are incredibly proud to partner with Aboriginal businesses through our industry leading Billion Opportunities program, providing businesses with the tools to build value and sustainability, and improve their competitiveness and capability,” he said.
“Surpassing the award of A$4 billion of contracts is a credit to our Aboriginal business partners and the Fortescue team, whose commitment has ensured the success of this initiative.”
PKKP Enterprises, an Aboriginal owned business established by the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Aboriginal Corporation from the Pilbara region of Western Australia, has been awarded $105 million in contracts through the Billion Opportunities initiative since 2020. The latest, a $19 million contract awarded in June 2022, allows for the hire of mining equipment at Fortescue’s Eliwana operations over six years.
PKKP Enterprises General Manager Shaun Burgess said PKKP Enterprises was established with a vision to create sustainable change for PKKP people, helping them to become strong, self-determined people.
“Being able to work with Fortescue over the past three years through the Billion Opportunities program has been incredible for PKKP Enterprises. These contracts have enabled us to work with Fortescue on PKKP country, building strong capacity for the Enterprise and allowing us to mature as an organisation,” he said.
In other developments, Aboriginal-owned businesses Maramara, Orebody Resources and Barrooghumba WPH JV have been jointly awarded a three-year contract as providers of support mobile equipment dry-hire to Fortescue.
As part of the contract, the three businesses will form a supplier panel allowing Fortescue to efficiently hire equipment including graders, water carts and excavators across the Company’s Pilbara mining hubs.
“Procurement is one of the most powerful levers for social and economic change, and from experience we know that a strong Aboriginal business sector is best placed to create employment and development opportunities for their communities,” Fish said.
Maramara managing director Garry Jaffrey said one of the key objectives of the business was to support Aboriginal people coming into the workplace.
“Being awarded this contract will help us grow our business, build capacity and create opportunities for more Aboriginal people,” he said.