Rio Tinto awards significant rail contract to growing Pilbara Traditional Owner business

09 May 2019

Rio Tinto has signed a landmark new contract with a growing Pilbara Traditional Owner business, a strong recognition of its expanding capability in rail maintenance.

Yurra Pty Ltd., majority owned by the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) which is the appointed representative of the Yindjibarndi people, will provide civil maintenance services on and around Rio Tinto’s Pilbara rail network in Western Australia.

The five-year contract, worth about A$20 million (US$14 million), will see Yurra grow and develop their local workforce while also bringing in other specialist expertise to help build new capabilities. It will also maximise benefits for the wider community in Roebourne and beyond by directly supporting 20 new local Indigenous jobs and providing further internal training pathways for local Indigenous people.

The Roebourne-based YAC is the representative body of the Yindjibarndi People, a Traditional Owner group with whom Rio Tinto have held an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with since 2013.

Chief executive officer of Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation Michael Woodley, said "We are proud of our partnership with Rio Tinto. Through ongoing contract opportunities we will continue to push the boundaries to improve and raise the living standards of Indigenous peoples of the region. This opportunity shows that we are collectively looking to the future and that Yurra has become a trusted contracting partner."

Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director Rail, Port & Core Services Ivan Vella said "We are delighted to have awarded Yurra its most significant contract to date and look forward to strengthening our relationship with the Yindjibarndi People, a highly valued and important partner for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara.

"We are proud to have worked with Yurra since their inception over 6 years ago. Along the journey, they have demonstrated a strong ability to deliver a range of services. They bring a high level of capability in the contracted areas and do this on very competitive terms. Yurra’s ability to maintain high levels of efficiency and low overheads despite their continued growth is a credit to their management and leadership team.

"This contract is one of the first of its kind for Rio Tinto Iron Ore and one which we hope will prove a catalyst for many others like it in the future. We're committed to local jobs for local people and are excited about the opportunities this partnership provides."

Additionally, Rio Tinto has awarded a contract to another majority-owned YAC business. GSBC Yurra have been awarded a contract, valued at almost $10 million, to refurbish the Rocklea Palms Accommodation Village in Paraburdoo. The work is expected to be completed later this year.

Notes for editors

Since inception, Rio Tinto has engaged Yurra on more than $15 million worth of work.

GBSC Yurra Pty Ltd is a related entity of Yurra Pty Ltd and was established in 2016 as a local business venture designed to provide increased pathways to opportunities, training and apprenticeships.