Rio increases Indigenous involvement in Pilbara

Rio Tinto says a new contract of more than $160 million for Pilbara construction works is a positive step towards increasing Indigenous business involvement.

Rio Tinto has awarded a contract of over $160 million to the NRW/Eastern Guruma joint venture for construction works associated with the expansion of the Brockman 4 and Western Turner Syncline mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The one-year contract will support the expansion of Brockman 4 from its current annual capacity of 22 million tonnes to 40 million tonnes.

The Western Turner Syncline will increase to 15 million tonnes per annum.

The expansions are part of Rio’s intended 333 million tonnes per annum capacity in the Pilbara in 2015.

It is the second significant contract awarded to the joint venture between NRW and Eastern Guruma, the traditional owners of the region.

A $200 million contract was awarded in 2009 to construct and operate the Western Turner Syncline mine.

Rio Tinto chief executive iron ore and Australia Sam Walsh said the decision highlights the importance of building indigenous business capacity.

“Rio Tinto has worked long and hard at building our Aboriginal employment levels across our Australian operations, and that work continues.

“But it is equally important that we support indigenous business participation.”

“We have made clear through all the contract tenders that indigenous involvement is a high priority, and this announcement is further evidence of that.”

Mining traditional Aboriginal land in the Pilbara has been a hot topic lately, with Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) proposing a $10 million per year deal to mine part of the land owned by the Yindjibarndi people.

Image: Rio Tinto

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