Fortescue Metals Group expects to hand out a further $500 million in contracts by the end of 2019 as part of the construction of its Eliwana mine and rail development in the Pilbara.
The project, which broke first ground last week, has already awarded over 250 contracts to Australian businesses worth $330 million, of which 80 per cent are Western Australian-owned companies.
Fortescue will continue to give priority to local businesses, promising that the structural steel fabrication of the overland conveyor, stockyard and train loadout facility and rail bridge girders will all occur with the state.
The company expects to award further steel fabrication work to local businesses in the coming months.
Fortescue also announced the award of a joint venture (JV) contract between Puuti Kunti Kuruma Pinikura and Action Industrial Catering for the catering, administration and general village services at the Eliwana fly camp.
This follows the early mine earthworks contract to Jilpanti Enterprises, a 100 per cent Aboriginal-owned business, as part of a JV with Cross Verwijmeren.
Fortescue is also continuing to work with Muntulgura Guruma, a 100 per cent Aboriginal-owned company, to carry out the access and enabling earthworks to support to the Eliwana rail development.
Chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said the creation of a strong business stemmed from creating economic opportunities and contributing to local communities.
“This vision is at the heart of the Eliwana development, a $US1.275 billion ($1.83 billion) project which has already generated business and jobs for West Australians,” she said
The Eliwana project is expected to create up to 1900 jobs during construction and 500 full-time site positions once operational.
“The business opportunities are also substantial. We’re proud to be working with local businesses on the steel fabrication of key pieces of infrastructure and we are committed to supporting Aboriginal and WA businesses, as we have always done,” Gaines said
Fortescue’s Aboriginal procurement initiative, Billion Opportunities, recently reached $2.3 billion in contracts award to Aboriginal businesses and JVs since the program began in 2011.