Indigenous win on bus deal
An indigenous family business in the Pilbara has won a contract to supply bus services to Pilbara Minerals as the miner ramps up its Pilgangoora lithium mine site near Port Hedland.
Bithari, run by Doris Eaton, son Troy Eaton and his wife Denise Smith, has secured the $250,000 contract to transport workers between Port Hedland Airport, the workers’ village, offsite accommodation and the mine site during the project’s construction phase.
Bithari will employ up to 12 indigenous people.
The business came to fruition as part of NPJV, which is an unincorporated joint venture between Njamal Services, run by the Njamal traditional landowners, and Pilbara Resource Group.
NPJV managing director Scott Dryland said NPJV broke up the large mining and maintenance contracts into small bite-size pieces, then helped Njamal families set up businesses to service these contracts that might otherwise go to multinational companies.
Mr Dryland said NPJV worked with the Bithari business leaders to assemble the tender proposal, and also ensured Bithari and directors were compliant with all licences and regulations by providing general business advice and support, recruitment assistance and maintenance. Mr Dryland has taken on the role as general manager of Bithari and, with NPJV, will oversee the Bithari business and provide support to ensure professional high standards.
He said the transport contract would run until June for the construction phase but Bithari had an opportunity to expand into permanent personnel transfer for Pilbara Minerals’ mine operations, providing further longterm employment opportunities for Njamal people.
NPJV has been awarded other mining contracts, creating jobs for more than 60 people.
Troy Eaton and Denise Smith are part of the Bithari family company which has won a contract to supply bus transport services for Pilbara Minerals aspart of the NPJV initiative.