Indigenous contractors prove their mettle at BHP Billiton Iron Ore
Indigenous owned and operated contract company, ALM Contracting, are proving their mettle within the Pilbara-based BHP Billiton Iron Ore operations, applying their flexible business approach to contracts throughout the company.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Senior Manager – Community and Indigenous Affairs, Chris Cottier describes the value of Indigenous contractors such as ALM Contracting to the company.
“ALM Contracting is a great example of an Indigenous business whose ability to respond to various needs, while complying with the highest mine-site standards, has seen them go from strength to strength,” Mr Cottier said.
“BHP Billiton Iron Ore has recently reached a significant Indigenous Contracting milestone, awarding $115 million in contracts to 15 Indigenous businesses in Western Australia last financial year alone.
“We have established a number of long-term collaborative relationships with Indigenous businesses based in, or with significant interests, in the Pilbara and are seeing many new contracts in areas such as electrical, construction, horticulture and community development.”
Anthony Martin, owner of ALM Contracting, describes his experience working with BHP Billiton Iron Ore, and the support he has received as his company takes up the challenge of working as a contract company to the mining industry.
“Working as a Trainer/Assessor within BHP Billiton Iron Ore, I saw a great many opportunities for a business with a flexible work approach and good work ethic to take up some of the non-mining specific contracts such as grounds maintenance and weed-spraying,” Mr Martin said.
“ALM Contracting is committed to taking on a 100 percent local Indigenous workforce and, through on-the-job-training, providing real workplace experience and a chance to prove themselves through hard work.
“Since establishing my business I have received support from Veolia Environmental Services; they provide me with an operations area within their local yard and access to their experience and tools which can only be accumulated over years of working within the mining-industry.”
Since the initial grounds maintenance contract at Nelson Point, ALM Contracting has been successful in securing contracts within community development, installing fencing to the Hedland Senior High School oval and working with RPS to change the face of Cassia Primary School; environmental contracts, completing the weed spraying of the rail line between Port Hedland and Newman; and is in the process of securing their largest contract in the area of infrastructure.
Mr Cottier said the Company had actively pursued a strategy to increase contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses, backed by ongoing business support over the term of the contract.
“At BHP Billiton we are committed to reducing disadvantage among Indigenous members of our community. Stimulating growth in Indigenous businesses is a critical piece of the puzzle and just one of the ways we seek to achieve this goal,” Mr Cottier said.
“We are extremely encouraged by the success of our Indigenous Contracting program to date and will continue to expand it in coming years.”
As of June 2011, through the development of local businesses plus targeted training, recruitment and workforce support, there were 311 Indigenous staff directly employed in the Pilbara by BHP Billiton Iron Ore and approximately 520 indirectly employed (including contractors).