Community, Event award, News, Rio Tinto

Rio’s $9b WA local business boost

rio Western AUstralia

Rio Tinto has boosted its spending at local and Indigenous businesses near its operations in Western Australia by almost 40 per cent in 2023.

Over the year, Rio worked with over 2400 suppliers in WA, injecting more than $8.8 billion into the state economy. Of this, $875 million was spent supporting local businesses located near its operations.

The company also increased its spend with WA Indigenous businesses by 35 per cent in 2023, with a record $593 million spent.

In the Pilbara, Rio spent $835 million with local businesses, of which $499 million was spent with Pilbara-based Indigenous businesses.

Since 2018, the company has increased its annual spend with suppliers in WA by 78 per cent, as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to support the communities where it operates.

“We are committed to sharing our success across the communities in which we operate by providing businesses opportunities to support local jobs for local people,” Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Simon Trott said.

“We are proud of the momentum we have built over the last six years to partner with more businesses in Western Australia. As we invest in the future of our business and operations in Western Australia, we will continue to create opportunities for suppliers.”

Rio celebrated its suppliers last week at its second annual Supplier Recognition Awards night.

The awards recognise the company’s suppliers for their outstanding performance and the contribution they make to Rio Tinto and the local community.

Any supplier or business that has worked for Rio Tinto across its WA operations could be nominated for outstanding performance and leadership across six categories. This year, around 200 supplier nominations were received, of which 18 finalists were selected.

WA Premier Roger Cook attended the awards night and congratulated the winners and finalists for their work and contribution to the state.

“Ensuring local businesses play a role in our resources sector is vital to the ongoing strength of our economy and to local jobs right across the state,” he said.

“It is great to see major companies like Rio Tinto increasing their local spend.”

Rio also revealed it spent more than $16.1 billion on Australian suppliers and local businesses during 2023, which was a five per cent increase from the previous year.

More than 5800 businesses and tens of thousands of Australian jobs benefitted from the 2023 spend, with more than $727 million spent with 168 Indigenous businesses across the country.

“For Rio Tinto to have a long-term future, we need the communities where we operate to be successful and prosperous,” Rio Tinto Australia chief executive Kellie Parker said.

“We strive to employ locally and buy locally in Australia – especially from Indigenous, small and regional businesses. It’s about providing opportunities to help these businesses grow and, in doing so, creating new jobs and training opportunities for many Australians, helping to support the nation’s economy.

“We’re proud to have increased our spend with Australian Indigenous businesses by 29 per cent to $727 million in 2023 and with local businesses around Australia by 25 per cent to $1.2 billion.”

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