Mallard Deemey Pty Ltd, a 100% Aboriginal-owned business, is to construct and install a laboratory, storage, and administrative facilities at the Eliwana asset in Western Australia following a contract award from project owner Fortescue Metals Group.
The award continues to build on Fortescue’s commitment to Aboriginal procurement with its Billion Opportunities program. Since inception in 2011, this program has awarded contracts and sub-contracts worth over A$2.5 billion ($1.7 billion) to more than 120 Aboriginal businesses and joint venture partners, the iron ore miner said.
Eliwana is due to include a 30 Mt/y dry ore processing facility and infrastructure. Production is expected to commence at the end of 2020 with a life of mine strip ratio of 1.1.
The contract for Mallard Deemey, jointly owned and operated by Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura member Donna Meyer and Yamatji member Robby Mallard, is valued at over A$11 million. It will lead to the creation of over 100 jobs, with a significant number of employees expected to come from the Pilbara and Carnarvon as well as Perth, Fortescue said.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Supporting and investing in sustainable Aboriginal businesses is at the heart of our approach to ensuring Aboriginal communities benefit from the growth and development of our business.
“Our Billion Opportunities Aboriginal procurement program has provided a platform to demonstrate the skills and capability of Aboriginal businesses and the chance for Aboriginal people to build a future for their communities through economic opportunity.”
Mallard Deemey Director, Donna Meyer, said the contracts clearly showed the capability of Aboriginal businesses, challenging assumptions they could only work on projects of this size as subcontractors and where time schedules were less stringent.
“These contracts are a demonstration of Mallard Deemey’s strong capabilities and will also enable us to commit to our continued training and employment of local Aboriginal people, positioning our business very well for the future,” she said.
With Fortescue’s support, Mallard Deemey was previously engaged as a subcontractor for the deconstruction of the Wheatstone camp in Onslow, ahead of its relocation to Eliwana. Over 40% of the workforce who worked on the Onslow project were Aboriginal employees.