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Mining giant doubles procurement budget

BHP Indigenous procurement
BHP Indigenous procurement

A multinational resources company is spending big on suppliers owned by Indigenous Australians.

BHP’s WA Iron Ore (WAIO) operations recently increased annual contracted spend with Pilbara traditional owners and indigenous businesses.

“This financial year BHP WAIO is forecast to spend over $140 million directly with over 70 Indigenous businesses. This annual spend is expected to more than double by 2023-24 to more than $300M a year,” WAIO asset president Brandon Craig said in a public statement.

“BHP wants to do much more to build sustainable, profitable and enduring partnerships with Indigenous businesses across our operations, and we are working hard at all levels of BHP to make this happen.”

WAIO earlier established Project Rise to promote collaboration, alignment, support and more business opportunities between BHP and traditional owner and indigenous suppliers.

BHP signed a $9.2M contract with Karlka FenceWright, which is owned by the Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation.

Karlka is tasked with fabricating and installing about 5km of fencing at six WAIO villages in Newman that house 1350 fly-in fly-out workforce residents. Up to 80 people will be employed on the fencing project and Karlka hopes to employ indigenous people in at least 15 per cent of those roles. Many fencing panels will feature the work of traditional owner, and senior Nyiyaparli elder and artist, Victor Parker. The deal is part of a $300M security upgrade project across all WAIO camps.

Previous tenders worth more than $150M task:

  • Kingkira, a Nyiyaparli-owned and operated business, with delivering road sweeping services across WAIO’s Port Hedland, Newman, and Mining Area C operations
  • Lorrex, a Banjima and Nyiyaparli owned indigenous business, with mobilising to the WAIO Pilbara operations of Mining Area C, South Flank and Jimblebar
  • Ngurrura, a fully owned and operated Pilbara Aboriginal Traditional Owner company, with recovering 44 kilo tonnes of crushed ore material from Mining Area C. More than 70 per cent of employees are Aboriginal and engaged via the BHP Local Buying Program
  • North West Alliance, a Palyku Joint Venture business, with managing waste across Pilbara assets.

“Our partnership with Karlka FenceWright and the Nyiyaparli people, which we are celebrating, is just one of many wonderful partnerships that we hope to build upon into the future,” Craig said.

“Contracts like this support the growth of indigenous enterprise and innovation and create new opportunities for those businesses to support their own communities – something indigenous business does best.”

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AMSJ April 2022