More than 1,000 Australian businesses helping to deliver Rio Tinto’s Amrun Project

26 February 2018

Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite project in Far North Queensland continues to provide economic benefits with more than 1,000 Australian businesses engaged to develop the world-class asset.

A total of 1,095 Australian businesses have been directly and indirectly involved with the project including more than 700 Queensland companies.

Rio Tinto Amrun project director Marcia Hanrahan said "From the very beginning of the Amrun project in 2015 we have been committed to prioritising Australian, and in particular Queensland companies for goods, services and expertise.

"The engagement of more than 1,000 Australian businesses on the project so far has provided a significant economic boost with overall Australian commitments now at $1.93 billion including Queensland commitments of $1.37 billion.

"It is important to us that the benefits of our investment are returned to home soil and that we play an active role in developing sustainable Australian communities for the future."

Pictured (L-R): Rio Tinto Weipa operations general manager Daniel van der Westhuizen, Rio Tinto plant operator George Woodley, Acting Queensland Premier Jackie Trad and Queensland State Member for Cook Cynthia Lui

A key commitment under Rio Tinto's local and Indigenous participation strategy is to provide opportunities for local and Indigenous businesses and for community members to benefit from the project. 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses have been engaged by the project to date.

At a visit to Rio Tinto’s Weipa operations today Acting Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said that the project’s focus on Indigenous participation was critical.

"We know that for true reconciliation and to close the gap both government and the private sectors need to step up in terms of Indigenous participation," Ms Trad said.

It’s fantastic to see that this project takes this responsibility seriously, bringing on board local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and directly employing a significant Indigenous workforce."

A total of $218 million of the commitments can also be attributed to the Western Cape York where 70 companies have been awarded aspects of the overall project.

Pictured: Acting Queensland Premier Jackie Trad (centre) with Queensland State Government and Rio Tinto employees at the East Weipa mine

Locally Goodline, a company founded in Weipa, was awarded a contract to deliver two significant infrastructure packages for the Amrun Project - the Hey River Terminal including the barge and ferry berths and the accommodation village.

Goodline Queensland manager Weipa Rob Potter said "Having started out as a small locally-owned business, we are proud to have secured contracts of this scale in competition with some of Australia’s largest construction companies. The packages of work secured on the project to date have allowed us to expand our local Indigenous engagement through direct employment and partnering with local Indigenous businesses."

Australian construction company McConnell Dowell’s Queensland branch also experienced benefits of working on the project after being engaged to construct the state-the-art Chith Export Facility at the site.
McConnell Dowell Queensland project manager Graeme Brown said "Via a collaborative effort we had the opportunity to use an innovative construction method for wharf building that in the future will pave the way globally for similar projects. We are delighted to have had the chance to work with Rio Tinto on this exciting new development."

Substantial engagement on the Amrun Project to date reinforces that benefits are available to all types of businesses, large and small, working from grassroots to national levels and across a vast range of industries.

About the Amrun Project

Rio Tinto announced its $2.6 billion investment in the Amrun project in late 2015. The project is about 40 kilometres south of Rio Tinto’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines on the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland and involves the construction of a bauxite mine, processing and port facilities.

900 people are now working on the construction of the site with the workforce having peaked at 1,250 people in the fourth quarter of 2017. 80 per cent of workers are from Queensland and close to 200 are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander including over 60 Local Aboriginal People.

Rio Tinto has a long history of partnering with Traditional Owners on Cape York and the project will continue to create opportunities for Indigenous people from Cape York and the surrounding region.

Production and shipping are expected to commence in the first half of 2019, ramping up to full production by the end of the year.