Freight Rail, Workforce, Certification & Training

Rio Tinto signs $20m rail deal with Aboriginal-owned contractor

Western Australia-based contractor Yurra has been awarded a contract to provide maintenance services to Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Pilbara rail network in Western Australia.

The contract with Yurra, which is majority owned by the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC), is the largest yet for the Roebourne-based company, being valued at $20 million over a five-year period.

The contract is intended to grow Yurra as a business (providing 20 new local jobs for Aboriginal workers), while also bringing benefits to the wider Roebourne community.

Rio Tinto has held an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with YAC since July 2013, and has previously awarded contracts totalling $15 million in value to Yurra.

“Through ongoing contract opportunities we will continue to push the boundaries to improve and raise the living standards of Indigenous peoples of the region,” said YAC chief executive officer Michael Woodley.

“This opportunity shows that we are collectively looking to the future and that Yurra has become a trusted contracting partner.”

In addition to the rail contract, Rio Tinto also announced the award of a $10 million deal with Yurra sister company GBSC Yurra to refurbish worker accommodation at its Paraburdoo iron ore mine.

Ivan Vella, Rio Tinto Iron Ore managing director for rail, port and core services commented that Yurra had demonstrated a strong ability to deliver a range of services through its work with the mining major.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Rio Tinto’s Pilbara network is Australia’s largest privately owned-and-operated rail system. It runs a total length of 1,700km, incorporating 16 iron ore mines and four port terminals.

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