12/05/2022 - 15:25

BHP to boost indigenous spend

12/05/2022 - 15:25

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BHP has signed a $9.2 million contract with Aboriginal business Karlka FenceWright and pledged to more than double its annual spending with the sector.

BHP to boost indigenous spend
Brandon Craig with Victor Parker, whose art will feature on fence panels.

BHP has signed a $9.2 million contract with Aboriginal business Karlka FenceWright and pledged to more than double its annual spending with the sector.

The Karlka FenceWright contract will see five kilometres of fencing panels fabricated locally and installed across BHP’s six residential villages around Newman.

Up to 80 people will be employed on the project, with a target to employ Indigenous people in at least 15 per cent of these roles.

Karlka FenceWright is a wholly owned subsidiary of Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the Nyiyaparli traditional owners in the east Pilbara.

It is one of 70 Indigenous vendors registered with BHP.

The company said its WA iron ore business was targeting a total direct Indigenous procurement spend of $137 million this financial year.

BHP said this spend was expected to more than double by 2023-24 to more than $300 million a year.

It has announced the new target shortly after rival iron more miner Rio Tinto disclosed that it spent $300 million with 64 Indigenous businesses in Western Australia in 2021.

This was up 34 per cent on the prior year and included work in construction, facilities management, civil and earthworks, advertising and marketing, transport, training, catering, equipment supply, cultural services, port services and medical services.

Speaking at a contract signing in Newman, BHP’s asset president WA iron ore Brandon Craig expanded on the company’s plans.

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,” he said.

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

“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.”

BHP said other Aboriginal businesses it has recently contracted include Kingkira, for road sweeping services, and Ngurrura, to recover crushed ore material.

It has also extended a long-term partnership with North West Alliance, a Palyku joint venture business, servicing waste management across the Pilbara operations.

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