The dotted line: September’s biggest contracts


Keep up with the latest and largest contracts from across the mining sector, including Fortescue, Rio Tinto, NRW Holdings and MACA. 

Fortescue Metals Group made headlines midway through September for signing a record-breaking $500 million contract with Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation (WGAC).

The WGAC will provide mining services for 10 years at the Solomon Hub iron ore operations in Western Australia, on the largest contract ever awarded by Fortescue to an Aboriginal business.

The WGAC will partner with Fortescue to develop new mines at the East and West Queens deposit, building on the hub’s 75 million tonne per annum capacity.

The parties have had ongoing relationship since a Land Acccess Agreement was signed in December 2009.


Primero was awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by Covalent Lithium at its Mt Holland concentrator project.

To earn $290 million, the NRW Holdings subsidiary will vertically deliver the engineering design of the plant and procure all of its elements, before construction and commissioning the project.

From there, Primero will process run-of-mine ore at a rate of about two million tonnes per annum and produce an output of about 400,000 tonnes per annum of spodumene concentrate, feeding Covalent’s Kwinana lithium hydroxide conversion refinery.

Works are expected to begin in October, employing 350 people at peak production.


Another NRW subsidiary, Golding Contractors, signed a five-year extension with Southern Cross Fertilisers at Phosphate Hill for up to $120 million in North West Queensland.

It is expected the extension will see Golding replace its current fleet with a selection of light and medium vehicles.

The Phosphate Hill operations combine manufacturing plants, a phosphate rock reserve and ammonia production from gas sourced from long-term gas supply agreements.

Around 80 Golding employees are contracted at the mine, which operates on a FIFO arrangement from Townsville.


Rio Tinto and Caterpillar have agreed to deploy Caterpillar’s 793 zero-emission autonomous haul trucks at the Gudai-Darri iron ore mine, once operations are up and running in Western Australia.

While no monetary value was placed on the partnership, the benefits to the world’s most technologically advanced mine will be significant.

Rio has continued to assess the scope of Gudai-Darri at peak production, with a $44 million pre-feasibility study currently underway and first production expected to be announced in the coming few years.

“Our ambition to reach net zero emissions across our operations is a priority. Reaching this ambition will require new and innovative solutions, and partnerships with supplier partners like Caterpillar,” Rio Tinto chief commercial officer Alf Barrios said.


MACA will continue its mining services at Pilbara Minerals Pilgangoora lithium project in Western Australia, after a $70 million contract extension was signed.

The 12-month extension includes drill and blast, and load and haul duties, as MACA’s work in hand position increased to $3.1 billion.

Pilgangoora currently produces two million tonnes per annum and Pilbara Minerals has further plant upgrades planned.

MACA chief executive officer Mike Sutton said the long-term relationship was paying dividends for everyone involved.

“We strongly value the collaborative working relationship established with the Pilbara Minerals team over the previous four years and are proud to be an ongoing part of this project,” he said.

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