Rio Tinto’s emphasis on working in partnership with host communities is demonstrated in its support of more than 480 community initiatives in 2018.
This included a $2.4 million investment in a regional mine training centre to support the first Aboriginal-owned and operated mine in Australia.
This investment will also support the first development of a Yolngu workforce to support other industries.
Another initiative provided $2 million in seed funding to the Developing East Arnhem initiative and up to 250 housing assets to attract and drive economic diversification across the region.
Rio Tinto also maintains the Nhulunbuy Township and airport and provides essential services to the town and surrounding communities.
Fly-in, fly-out arrangements from Geraldton, Carnarvon, Broome, Derby, Albany and Meekatharra have enabled 275 Indigenous workers to continue to live on country and work at Rio Tinto’s operations in Western Australia.
Global mining company Newmont’s three Australian assets include the Tanami mine in the remote Tanami Desert of Northern Australia.
The mine and plant are located on Aboriginal freehold land that is owned by the Warlpiri people and managed by the Central Desert Aboriginal Trust. The site is the most remote in Australia, with the closest communities of Yuendumu and Lajamanu approximately 257km south and 327km north east of the mine.
Newmont’s Tanami operations have contributed nearly $374 million to the economy through procurement, payroll taxes, government royalties, land use payments and community projects.
Aboriginal people made up approximately 13 per cent of its workforce – or more than 100 workers – in 2017.
Partnering with Traditional Owners
Newmont has a dedicated community relations team on site at its Tanami Operations to encourage dialogue with all stakeholders.
Newmont’s significant community development program includes support for the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation, Charles Darwin University scholarships and the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust.
In 2016 Newmont, the Central Land Council (CLC) and Yapa developed a guide for working together to achieve stronger outcomes for Yapa. This plan (Granites-Kurra Ten Year Plan) was reviewed and endorsed by traditional owners and CLC regional delegates in June 2017.
The plan articulates outcomes that the CLC, Newmont and Yapa can achieve to strengthen Yapa voice, employment and education in the Tanami region.
BHP has a strong commitment to supporting Indigenous businesses to develop, grow and diversify, as demonstrated by its award of $350 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses between 2013 and 2015.
Tailored approaches are also taken to support Indigenous business enterprises in regional areas.
This includes BHP’s Indigenous Business Support program which provides free, expert financial, commercial strategic advice to Pilbara Traditional Owner businesses.
More than 120 businesses had accessed the program by the end of 2016.
National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee NAIDOC week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; it is celebrated not only by Indigenous communities, but by all Australians from all walks of life. This year’s theme Because of her, we can!, celebrates the role Indigenous women have played and continue to play in their cultural, social and political survival. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women are often the unsung heroes of Australia’s past; they have played a major role in sharing the dream time stories, the songlines, their knowledge and language.
To celebrate NAIDOC this year, MMG’s Geoscience and Discovery team have partnered with the Borroloola community to work with children and Elders to embrace this year’s theme and encourage learning and spending time engaging in cultural activities. In conjunction with the Traditional Owners and the broader community, MMG helped devise a program with the Borroloola Secondary School where students are taken ‘out bush’ on trips for several weeks at a time. During the trips, Elders teach children traditional skills including how to hunt, find water, storytelling, basket and spear making as well as traditional dance and art. The program enables children to access culture through a formal educational setting, with the intention of making culture a part of their daily lives.
To support the program, MMG - with the generous support of BCF Darwin - supplied 17 6-person tents for the students and Elders. Thanks to the number of tents supplied, students from the primary school were also able to participate in the trips.
The Geoscience & Discovery team presented the tents to the school with a sausage sizzle for the 250 children, as well as demonstrations on how to set-up and pack away the tents.
MMG look forward to further opportunities to collaborate with the Borroloola Traditional Owners and Elders, and support the important work they are doing to keep their culture alive.
A number of MCA member companies support the Clontarf Foundation, which improves the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equips them to participate meaningfully in society.
Since opening its first Academy for 25 boys in 2000 the Foundation has grown to cater for over 6,500 boys in 97 schools across Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The Foundation believes that failure to experience achievement when young, coupled with a position of under-privilege can lead to alienation, anger and more serious consequences. As a prelude to tackling these and other issues, participants are first provided with an opportunity to succeed and in turn raise their self-esteem.
The vehicle for achieving this outcome is Australian Rules and/or Rugby League programs delivered through a network of football academies established in partnership with local schools. Any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander male enrolled at the school is eligible to participate in the Clontarf Academy.
Full-time, locally-based Clontarf staff mentor and counsel students on a range of behavioural and lifestyle issues while the school caters for their educational needs. Using a comprehensive approach of supportive relationships, a welcoming environment, and a diverse range of activities, the students develop improved self-esteem and confidence.
With these mechanisms in place year-to-year retention is not less than 90% and school attendance rates are greater than 80%. In areas where Clontarf exists there has been evidence of reduced crime rates in the community.
Upon completing the programme, graduates are helped to find employment, with many graduates securing jobs in the mining industry. Specialist Employment Officers are engaged to do this and provide support until graduates become comfortable with their new jobs and surroundings.
Funding for the Foundation’s programs is provided in equal parts from the Federal Government, State and Territory Governments and the private sector.