Rio Tinto signs $20m rail contract with Pilbara Traditional Owners

Indigenous-owned contractor Yurra has been awarded a five-year contract to provide maintenance services to Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Pilbara rail network in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto has held an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC), the majority owner of Yurra (60 per cent) since July 2013.

The $20 million contract is intended to grow Yurra as a business while also bringing benefits to the wider Roebourne community in which the company is based.

Twenty local jobs for Aboriginal workers will  be created as a result of the deal.

“Through ongoing contract opportunities we will continue to push the boundaries to improve and raise the living standards of Indigenous peoples of the region,” said YAC chief executive officer Michael Woodley.

“This opportunity shows that we are collectively looking to the future and that Yurra has become a trusted contracting partner.”

The rail maintenance contract represents Yurra’s largest yet with Rio Tinto, which has awarded the company over $15 million worth of work since its inception in 2013.

Yurra’s other major clients include BHP, BGC Contracting, Downer, Woodside and Sodexo, among others. It also offers building maintenance and construction services through sister company GBSC Yurra, in addition to services such as commercial cleaning, rail and civil maintenance, landscape construction and scaffolding.

Rio Tinto also awarded a $10 million contract to GBSC Yurra to refurbish the Rocklea Palms Accommodation Village at the Paraburdoo iron ore mine, also in the Pilbara.

Ivan Vella, Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director for rail, port and core services, said Yurra and the Yindjibarndi People were important partners for the mining company in the Pilbara region. He hoped the contract would prove a “catalyst” for similar contracts in future.

“Yurra’s ability to maintain high levels of efficiency and low overheads despite their continued growth is a credit to their management and leadership team,” Vella said.

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