BHP’s WA iron ore business will more than double its spend with Indigenous companies to more than $300m in the next two years.

The goal would see at least an extra $173m spent above the $137m target set this financial year, which has so far been shared among 70 Indigenous vendors.

The announcement was made by BHP WA iron ore asset president Brandon Craig in Newman as the miner signed a $9.2m contract with Nyiyaparli-owned Karlka FenceWright for 5km of fencing around six residential villages near Newman.

The panels will be manufactured locally, with many featuring artwork from Nyiyaparli Ender Victor Parker.

Mr Craig said the partnership with Karlka was one of many the miner wanted to build.

“BHP wants to do much more to build sustainable, profitable and enduring partnerships with Indigenous businesses across our operations, and we are working hard at all levels of BHP to make this happen,” he said.

Nyiyaparli Elder Victor Parker.

“Contracts like this support the growth of Indigenous enterprise and innovation, and create
new opportunities for those businesses to support their own communities – something
Indigenous business does best.”

Up to 80 people will be employed by Karlka on this project which began in April, at least 15 per cent of whom will be Indigenous.

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston MLA congratulated BHP for the funding commitment.

“I’d encourage other mining companies to look at opportunities to connect with local
Aboriginal businesses,” he said.

Recent contracts awarded to Indigenous businesses include a five-year deal with Kingkira for road sweeping, a crushed ore recovery deal with Ngurrura and a waste management contract with Palyku joint venture North West Alliance