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Providing COVID food relief for Pilbara communities


While the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are being managed across most of Western Australia, recent cases and lockdowns across remote communities in the Pilbara region have been challenging.

Mineral Resources (MinRes) recently saw the opportunity to lend a helping hand where it’s needed most, when our Communities and Stakeholder Engagement team led efforts to support the local Kariyarra people of the Hedland and Yandeyarra communities.

Through conversations with local community leaders, it became clear the Kariyarra people were being heavily impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns, with restricted access to fresh food and basic household items.

In response, MinRes teams and emergency relief funding supported the rapid supply of fruit, vegetables, meat, personal hygiene products and cleaning products for the local community – with our existing transport services on hand to make sure items made it to Hedland in good time.

Thanks to the support of the Julyardi Aboriginal Corporation and local volunteers, items were then stored, divided, packed and distributed to the Kariyarra people.

MinRes Executive General Manager Project Development, Joshua Thurlow, said once the urgent needs of the local community became clear, the business was quick to act.

“MinRes is proud to build long-lasting partnerships that enrich local communities, and this has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Thurlow said.

“Speaking with our partners in the Pilbara, it was obvious the Kariyarra people were facing a really tough time with lockdowns and isolation, so we saw an opportunity to lend a hand.

“Our people and our community partners collaborated to put a plan into action and deliver some much-needed support in challenging times.”

Kariyarra Elder, co-chair of Hedland Aboriginal Strong Leaders and director of Julyardi, Raylene Button, said quick and impactful efforts from everyone involved were welcomed by the local community.

“It was amazing to see people pitching in and providing real practical support for the community when they needed it the most,” Button said.

“Thank you to Mineral Resources for working with us so quickly and effortlessly.”

MinRes’ support is in addition to our sponsorship of Bloodwood Tree’s Mini Mart service, which has also provided critical support to families impacted by COVID-19.

We’ve prioritised our response to the virus since the pandemic began, supporting not only the health and wellbeing of our people, partners and industry – but looking ways to make a difference in the regions where we operate.

Feature image L-R: Jennine Heesters (Julyardi Aboriginal Corporation), Kimberley Gulliver (Julyardi Aboriginal Corporation volunteer), Candice Burvill (MinRes Community Engagement Officer) and Nicholas Green (Chief Executive Officer Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation)