The Member: Fortescue Metals Group
Fortescue Metals Group is a world leader in iron ore production and sea-borne trading. The billion dollar organisation was formed in 2003 around the dining room table of Chairman Andrew Forrest. The businessman secured tenements in the resource rich Pilbara region of Western Australia and began exploring for iron ore in the belief that the potential of the Pilbara had barely been tapped and China’s rapidly growing economy would create long term demand for commodities. Construction began at its first mine, Cloudbreak, in 2006, while work also started on a 256 kilometre railway from Cloudbreak to Port Headland and on world class facilities at Herb Elliott Port. Since its formation Fortescue Metals Group has evolved from a grassroots explorer into the world’s fourth largest producer of iron ore.
The Certified Supplier: Guma ICRG JV
Guma ICRG JV (GUMA) is a jointly owned and operated mining services company, located in the East Pilbara region. ICRG holds a 50 per cent stake in the business, with the other 50 per cent held by Nyiyaparli Traditional Owners, who filter the benefits back to the Northwest Indigenous community. The union came about in 2012, when GUMA founders Raymond Drage, Michael Stream and Victor Parker joined forces with ICRG to provide civil works and construction support to major mining companies. Guma by definition means to ‘come together’ and that’s how the Guma ICRG Joint Venture partnership works. Both sides work together to deliver on client project objectives, with the benefits filtering to Indigenous communities.
The Opportunities and Outcomes:
Fortescue Metals Group awarded a small sub-contract opportunity to GUMA in March 2013, following a successful tender process. The road maintenance contract at the Cloudbreak mine was valued at $3 million over a four year period. “Fortescue has given us an opportunity and that has given us (GUMA) jobs and also that result in families closing the gap. They have income; they are able to enjoy life as other Australians do,” Marcia Langton, Chairperson at GUMA ICRG JV explained. This was the start of what has become a strong and significant partnership between the two organisations. Since their initial contract, GUMA has been awarded a further four contracts on Fortescue projects, totalling more than $60 million. “GUMA has the right capabilities on the ground; the resources, the structures so they really hit the ground running when they got that first opportunity and that has led to other opportunities with us,” Heath Nelson Manager - Aboriginal Business Development at Fortescue Metals Group explained.
How Supply Nation was able to help:
Fortescue became a Supply Nation member in 2012. “Supply Nation was a bit of an eye opener because it exposed a lot of those Indigenous businesses to us that work in the corporate world. Their database has over 200 Indigenous businesses certified. Fortescue has engaged with 13 Supply Nation suppliers since becoming members,” Heath said. Heath encouraged Guma ICRG JV to become a Supply Nation supplier. “As a newly formed business, it was important for Guma ICRG JV to diversify its business into other sectors. Supply Nation, with over 100 members, would give Guma ICRG JV an opportunity to network with these members and hopefully win other work”. Guma ICRG JV became a certified Indigenous business in March 2013. “I know that corporate Australia is watching this space and Supply Nation is a very big part of that. I think every business in Australia should look at the opportunity to buy goods and services from Indigenous businesses,” Marcia concluded.