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MinRes helps local Aboriginal business bloom at Wodgina

Mineral Resources (MinRes) is supporting local Traditional Owners to grow long-term business success at the Wodgina lithium operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

MinRes is committed to getting behind local communities where we operate, with a particular focus on engagement with local Indigenous communities and building respectful relationships with Traditional Owners near our operations.

Alongside our ongoing efforts to increase Indigenous participation through apprentice, trainee, graduate and employment programs, MinRes is helping build local business capability by supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground.

We recently awarded a three-year agreement with local Traditional Owner business – Jutiya Gardening and Landscaping – to provide village gardening, maintenance services and cultural awareness training at Wodgina.

The business is 100% Aboriginal owned and operated by Kariyarra Elder Margaret Stewart, her daughter Anne Stewart, and partner Davis Hicks.

Davis takes a hands-on role installing reticulation and enriching gardens while Margaret manages the business and guides the team to identify and preserve native and non-invasive plant species. Behind the scenes, Anne manages the books and delivers cultural awareness training to MinRes employees at Wodgina.

As the business grows, the team plans to hire and train more local people and family members – helping build capacity and skills while sharing their knowledge with the local Yandeyarra community, located around 50km from the Wodgina operation.

Anne says the team’s experience with MinRes has been different to previous interactions with other mining companies, with conversations based on support, understanding and respect.

“This partnership came about from meetings with MinRes, who knew my family were Traditional Owners in this area and approached us about a partnership,” Anne said.

“It means pride in owning our own business and employing other Aboriginal people. We get to learn new skills for maintaining gardens, and general clean up and camp maintenance. It’s a long-term thing as well; we want to maintain this business for the life of the mine and give our kids something to have as their own.”

MinRes Executive General Manager – Project Development, Ivor Jezdik, said partnering with Indigenous businesses was an ongoing focus for the company that helps share long-term success.

“These partnerships are extremely important for MinRes. We have a responsibility to give back to the areas where we operate and engage with Indigenous communities on new opportunities to deliver real value for their people and our business”.

“Supporting Indigenous small businesses also has a generational impact that goes well beyond our mine life, building skills that can be transferred across other areas and industries well into the future.”

MinRes’ Indigenous Procurement Strategy prioritises strong relationships with Traditional Owners and seeks mutually beneficial opportunities to build Indigenous employment and business capability.

For more information on MinRes’ approach to maintaining strong community and stakeholder relationships in the regions where we live and work, see our 2022 Sustainability Report.