Empowering indigenous businesses in Australia
AngloGold Ashanti Australia has contributed to Aboriginal empowerment in the Australian resources sector by partnering with Aboriginal business Carey Mining, the country’s largest 100% First Nation-owned commercial enterprise.
For many years, commercial opportunities for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses within Australia were non-existent, with significant barriers to entry. The year 1995 marked a watershed moment when AngloGold Ashanti awarded a landmark mining contract to Carey at Sunrise Dam. This launched a wave of new Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs working in partnership with resource companies. The partnership between AngloGold Ashanti and Carey set a precedent for Aboriginal engagement, demonstrating that indigenous businesses have an important part to play in servicing the needs of the country’s mining industry.
A joint venture arrangement was established to enable Carey to participate in a portion of AngloGold Ashanti’s mining contract, which included managing the ROM pad and crusher feed with a small fleet of equipment. After 27 years of continuous work at Sunrise Dam, Carey remains a key partner in our business. “If AngloGold Ashanti had not taken the time to consider my business concept and, more importantly, helped to raise A$5.5 million in bank finance to launch Carey Mining, the landscape of Australia’s resources industry and that of indigenous involvement in the sector would be vastly different,” says Daniel Tucker AM, Carey’s founder and Managing Director.
AngloGold Ashanti’s experience working with Carey informed its framework for developing Tropicana. This included identifying, nurturing, and engaging with small local enterprises, including Aboriginal businesses, well before contracts were awarded. Critical to this process was building an understanding of the local community’s needs and developing community awareness around available opportunities. AngloGold Ashanti engaged a third-party business consultant to work with interested organisations to assess their business capability and help bridge any gaps. We realised that some contracts could be restructured or “unbundled” to enable participation by small businesses.
When Tropicana began production in September 2013, it had awarded contracts to six indigenous businesses. In 2020, Carey extended its operational footprint at Sunrise Dam when it was awarded its first stand-alone mining contract in a competitive tendering process to mine the Golden Delicious satellite pit. Carey has also strengthened its relationship as a subcontractor at Tropicana, providing ancillary equipment and personnel.
The relationship with Carey has played a pivotal role in AngloGold Ashanti’s collaborative approach to community investment, creating training and employment opportunities for indigenous people who are new to the mining industry. An example of this is Get into Mining, a collaborative training programme established by Carey, Tropicana Mining Alliance partner Macmahon Holdings, and the Tropicana Joint Venture partners. Get into Mining comprises a blended delivery of training in the classroom at a simulated worksite and via practical activities at Tropicana and is structured to enable a phased transition into the fly-in, fly-out working environment. Graduates are offered roles within AngloGold Ashanti, Macmahon or Carey. More than 50 trainees have graduated from the programme to date and the majority continue to work in the mining industry.