Rio Tinto Amrun wins QRC Indigenous Procurement Award

28 May 2019

Rio Tinto’s newly operational $2.6 billion Amrun bauxite mine has won the ‘Best Company Indigenous Procurement Initiative Award’ at the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Indigenous Awards, held in Brisbane last night and organised to coincide with National Reconciliation Week.

The mine, located on Wik and Wik-Waya Traditional Lands between Weipa and Aurukun in Far North Queensland, recently transitioned from a construction project to a fully operational bauxite mine with its first shipment of bauxite departing in December 2018, and commissioning completed in March this year.

Rio Tinto was recognised for creating sustainable Indigenous procurement and employment opportunities through its Amrun Project Local and Indigenous Participation Strategy with a long-term approach to Indigenous participation beyond the construction phase of the project into operations.

Rio Tinto Weipa Operations general manager Daniel van der Westhuizen said "Since planning stages of the Amrun Project, our ethos has always been to employ local, buy local and grow local business. Amrun will continue to work in partnership with Traditional Owners to ensure local Aboriginal people play a strong role in our business and to position the broader Western Cape region for a sustainable future."

Key actions implemented under the strategy included Rio Tinto developing a North Queensland Indigenous Business Directory to enhance visibility of Indigenous business capability in the region and the requirement for all work package bidders over $1M to complete Local and Indigenous Participation Plans (LIPP) to ensure the inclusion of Indigenous companies in the award of contracts.

As at the end of 2018, 69 Western Cape businesses including 17 Indigenous businesses had supplied goods directly and indirectly to the Amrun Project.

Rio Tinto Pacific Operations managing director Kellie Parker said "We recognise we operate on Traditional Lands and so we are proud our work at Amrun has been recognised for improving Indigenous business and employment opportunities. Congratulations to Amrun Project and Weipa Operations teams on this great achievement."

Florence Drummond, a Rio Tinto Weipa mine operator, was also awarded an ‘Up-and-Coming Recognition Award’ in the Indigenous Advocacy category for founding the Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources Australia chapter.

The QRC Indigenous Awards is in its sixth consecutive year and celebrates the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the resources sector along with excellence in economic participation initiatives.