Atlas Iron awards ground-breaking mining services contract to indigenous business East West Pilbara Group

-Special ceremony held featuring the female-elders of Nyamal-

In what is believed to be a first for the Pilbara, Atlas Iron, a subsidiary of Hancock Prospecting, Chaired by Executive Chairman Mrs Gina Rinehart, has awarded a joint venture mining contract for its new Miralga Creek mine to Ozland and East West Pilbara (EWP). EWP are an indigenous business connected directly to Atlas Iron’s traditional owner group Nyamal.  The Miralga Creek mining tenement is situated on Nyamal native title lands.

The contract scope is for the provision of load and haul and drill and blast services from pit to ROM for the Miralga Creek mine due to haul first ore in April 2022.  EWP will deliver this in partnership with WA privately owned company Ozland.

Managing Director of EWP Troy Eaton said that the contract was a giant step forward in showing how the mining industry and traditional owners can work together to create sustainable economic outcomes for future generations of indigenous people.

“This will be the first indigenous business in the Pilbara to be awarded such a valuable contract to conduct these specific mining services on their own native title lands.”

“We thank Gina Rinehart as well as Atlas Iron General Manager Projects Stacey Brown for helping us to pioneer this partnership, and show the rest of the industry what can be done.  I know my grandfather and Nyamal man, Ernest Mitchell would be so proud of what we have achieved together, he has always believed that mining could benefit his people and first started looking for commercial opportunities in the 1960s.”

“EWP wanted to honour this occasion by hosting a very special welcome to country on Nyamal native title land.   To recognise Gina and Stacey, the ceremony was unique, as our Nyamal female elders led the welcome to country, song and presentation. We felt it was a special way for women to honour women.”

“This venture is just the start of creating something that our kids and grandkids can continue well into the future and have something of their own to grow that continues to keep them connected to country.’

Atlas Iron CEO Sanjiv Manchanda said that two of Atlas Iron’s core values are trust and win-win and this partnership between EWP, Ozland and Atlas Iron is such a wonderful example of this.

“We can have our strategy and our business plans, but what defines Atlas Iron is how we go about achieving those strategies and plans.   Our relationships with our stakeholders, suppliers and contractors are all incredibly important to us and this partnership today represents a coming together of a number of these groups. Atlas Iron mines iron ore guided by a vision to contribute meaningfully to our country while extracting ore bodies responsibly.”

“We are so delighted to be sharing this vision with the  Nyamal people, specifically via EWP which is the culmination of a long held desire from Troy’s grandfather to access economic benefits for his people.  We understand it is the first partnership between a company like ours and a traditional owner business, to conduct mining services on their own lands’.

Greg Morris, Director Ozland, said that the partnership with EWP was anchored in trust and respect.

“We are humbled to be in partnership with EWP and Atlas Iron.  We know that by working together we will create better outcomes for all and we are looking forward to learning more about the lands we are operating on from Nyamal elders. Ozland is proud to be innovating the way that the sector works with indigenous businesses, with sustainable job creation and economic prosperity for traditional owners at the heart of the approach we are taking.”

Miralga Creek is an extension of the Atlas Iron Abydos Mine, and as of end of May 2021, the project received all statutory approvals. This included the DMIRS approval of the Mining Proposal; and the EPA, EPBC and Works Approvals.  The project will develop five open pits to extract 8 million tonnes of iron ore over four to five years.  Once operational the mine will employee approximately 300 people directly and indirectly.