Indigenous-owned Amrun Project contractor wins prestigious QRC award

29 May 2018

A 100 per cent Indigenous-owned and managed civil construction and earthmoving company has won a top Queensland resources sector prize for providing general services to Rio Tinto’s A$2.6 billion Amrun bauxite project in Far North Queensland.

Locally-owned Weipa company Northern Haulage and Diesel Services (NHDS) was named winner of the Exceptional Indigenous Business category at the prestigious 2018 Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Indigenous Awards in Brisbane on Monday evening.

NHDS was recognised for its consistent safety performance, scope execution, and cost management on the delivery of the Amrun Project’s general services contract. The contract has also opened up new employment opportunities for people on the Western Cape and now boasts a 100 per cent local Aboriginal work crew.

NHDS managing director Darrin Savo said "Partnering with Rio Tinto at Amrun has been a chance to grow our business and provide meaningful employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people that support the sustainability of the region.

"We are extremely committed to the successful delivery the general services contract and contributing to broader efforts that close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage."

Rio Tinto Amrun Project general manager Marcia Hanrahan was named first runner-up in the Indigenous Advocacy category.

Marcia was recognised for championing the aspirations of local Traditional Owners to increase local Aboriginal and Indigenous participation in the resources sector.

Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation group executive Stephen McIntosh said "Congratulations to NHDS and Marcia. These achievements are a testament to the culture of inclusiveness that has been firmly embedded throughout the Amrun Project by its leadership and teams.

"This builds on the strong foundation established at our Weipa bauxite mine which has 25 per cent indigenous employment today and a history of partnering with the local communities."

As at the end of 2017 the Amrun Project employed over 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, including over 100 local Aboriginal people.

Additionally A$1.3 billion has been spent by the project, directly and indirectly, with 704 Queensland suppliers, including 71 Western Cape businesses and 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.

About NHDS

NHDS was founded in July 2009 by brothers Darrin and Craig Savo. It is the largest 100 per cent Indigenous-owned and managed company on the Western Cape. The company specialises in the management and delivery of mining, civil, diesel haulage and labour hire services, and uniquely focuses on the training and mentoring of local Aboriginal people. Where applicable NHDS subcontracts to other Indigenous businesses.

NHDS has maintained an important focus on social responsibility as an Aboriginal business with its leadership being members of Traditional Owner groups of the Western Cape. It understands the issues impacting Aboriginal people and communities and is well placed to undertake meaningful engagement with local Indigenous people within the Western Cape region. NHDS seeks to reduce welfare dependency by focusing on the education, training, and employment of Indigenous people.

About Marcia Hanrahan

Marcia is an established leader with 20 years’ experience in the resource industry in both mining and processing. In her current role as general manager of the Amrun Project, Marcia leads the construction of Rio Tinto’s A$2.6 billion bauxite mine and associated infrastructure, located between Weipa and Aurukun on the western Cape York Peninsula.

Having come from regional Queensland, Marcia believes in the economic and social benefits of businesses engaging and employing locally. She advocates for businesses to identify the strengths, transferable skills, and knowledge of the local people, and build on this competitive advantage born from their innate capacity, their connection, and their long-term commitment to the region. What sets Marcia apart is her approach to challenging the status quo, and removing barriers to create employment opportunities in construction for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.