Fortescue Metal Group has contracted Cundaline to complete the West Canning Basin earthworks at the Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia.
The contract continues Fortescue’s commitment to supporting local and Aboriginal businesses, will see Cundaline carry out the earthworks, access preparation and rehabilitation services associated with the Iron Bridge hydrogeology drilling program.
Fortescue’s chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said Fortescue’s Aboriginal procurement initiative, Billion Opportunities, had awarded over $2.5 billion in contracts and sub-contracts to Aboriginal businesses and joint venture partners since the program began in 2011.
“We are committed to building on this proud track record through our growth projects, Eliwana and Iron Bridge, which have already awarded over $60 million in contracts to Aboriginal businesses,” she said.
“Importantly, Billion Opportunities is focused on building the capability and capacity of Aboriginal businesses, and it is very pleasing to see Cundaline, a business which commenced operations as a labour hire company, now expand into earthworks and mechanical maintenance contracting areas.”
Cundaline’s managing director Brenden Taylor said the West Canning Basin earthworks contract was a milestone project and the first of a number of potential opportunities on the Iron Bridge magnetite project for Cundaline.
“We have worked hard to transition our company from a labour hire specialist to a contracting entity managing and delivering our own projects. I am particularly proud of my team for their professionalism and ‘can do’ attitude and not giving up during the tough times,” he said.
“Along this journey we have worked together with other Aboriginal businesses and I especially want to acknowledge Fortescue, through the Billion Opportunities initiative, for making a real difference for a local and Aboriginal business like Cundaline to continue to grow our capacity and capability into the future.”
The Iron Bridge project is expected to deliver 22 million tonnes per year of high grade 67 per cent iron magnetite concentrate product, with the first stage completed successfully by building and operating a full-scale pilot plant at the North Star mine site.
The second stage of the project comprises the construction of a large-scale process plant, and port infrastructure to support the production of iron ore.
The product from Iron Bridge, along with hematite from Fortescue’s Eliwana mine project, will enable Fortescue to deliver the majority of products at greater than 60 per cent iron.
In Fortescue’s March quarter results released late last month, the company stated the $2.6 billion project was progressing on schedule and budget, with first concentrate production planned in the first half of 2022.