Wickham Helps Rio Top $1billion
More than $1 billion in both Aboriginal joint venture and direct business contracts for Rio Tinto’s Pilbara expansion projects have now been awarded over the last two years.
The milestone was reached with the announcement of a $55 million earthworks contract for the Wickham South residential development awarded to Brierty Limited and Aboriginal owned Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation Ltd (NYFL).
Rio Tinto chief executive Iron Ore and Australia Sam Walsh said the milestone contract again demonstrated the company’s commitment to supporting sustainable indigenous business capacity, training and employment opportunities.
“We are really proud to have had such significant Aboriginal contribution to our expansion programme in the Pilbara, and we are still the single largest private employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia,” he said during his Asia Society speech in Sydney today.
“Our commitment to our Aboriginal partnerships is real, has resulted in these tangible outcomes and continues to be a priority in our iron ore business.
It’s exciting to note that there are still a number of significant contracts to be awarded as we move towards achieving increased capacity in the Pilbara of 353 million tonnes a year,” Mr Walsh said.
This most recent joint venture contract (70 per cent Brierty and 30 per cent NYFL) signals the commencement of the recently approved stage 1 Wickham South subdivision in the Pilbara and also includes services installation, roadworks, streetscape and park landscaping.
Wickham South subdivision is part of the Wickham town expansion project that will house the employees needed for the increased capacity of nearby Cape Lambert port and rail facilities, with the Brierty / NYFL contract commencing next month and due for completion in March 2013.
The Wickham South subdivision was also recently awarded the EnviroDevelopment certification by the Urban Design Institute of Australia (UDIA) making it the most environmentally sustainable housing design in Western Australia. Rio Tinto’s certification for Wickham South is the highest level achieved to date in Western Australia, meeting five out of six sustainable elements.
Rio Tinto employs more than 2,200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, representing about nine per cent of its total workforce, with the Iron Ore group alone employing almost 1,200 indigenous men and women.