Rio Tinto has awarded a $20 million rail maintenance contract to a local traditional owner business in the Pilbara. Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques will make the announcement at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders in Perth.
Yurra, majority owned by the Roebourne-based Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, will provide the civil rail maintenance contract over a five year period across Rio’s expanding Pilbara rail network.
The rail maintenance contract will support 20 new local Aboriginal jobs and provide training pathways for local indigenous people.
Rio’s iron ore rail, port and core services Boss Ivan Vella said it was the most significant contract awarded by Rio Tinto to Yurra over the two parties’ six-year relationship.
Rio has awarded a $10 million contract to another indigenous firm, GSBC Yurra, to refurbish the Rocklea Palms accommodation village at Paraburdoo.
Rio Tinto is also expected to stare down environmentalists at its meeting today over a motion for it to curb its greenhouse gas emissions, including those produced by its steelmaking customers in Asia.
The miner has recommended shareholders vote against the motion, saying it has very limited control over emissions produced by its iron ore customers or future measures to abate them.
Rio’s so-called scope 3 emissions, at 536mt of CO2, represent 18 times the emissions produced by its own operations.
The rail maintenance contract is a wine for the region.