Fortescue has awarded an A$18m ($12.03m) contract to the Nyamal people to supply mining equipment for the Iron Bridge magnetite project in Pilbara, Western Australia.

The initial contract scope will include the supply of five contour drill rigs, two platform rigs and a stemming loader.

Additionally, Nyamal will provide six more platform rigs over the next two years to support the Iron Bridge mine plan.

Fortescue Metals CEO Fiona Hick said: “The drill and blast programme at Iron Bridge represents one of the most crucial aspects to achieving maximum throughput in the processing plant. We are pleased that we have been able to partner with Nyamal to deliver this important capability. 

“From the outset, Fortescue has been focused on practical initiatives that drive economic and employment opportunities for indigenous Australians.

“Contracts like this support the growth of indigenous businesses, enabling them to build capability, which, in turn, provides ongoing economic benefits to communities.”

Nyamal people are traditional custodians of the land in which the project is located.

Nyamal Aboriginal chairperson Gavin Mitchell said: “Nyamal Holdings are excited to secure this significant contract for the Nyamal people enabling us to own the fleet, which will provide ongoing training and employment opportunities for Nyamal members.

“Nyamal Aboriginal Corporation has a strong and ongoing engagement with Fortescue, and we are pleased that through this contract we are able to build on this long-standing relationship.”

Nyamal businesses have already secured contracts totalling $331m since 2019.

The Iron Bridge magnetite project is operated under a joint venture between FMG Magnetite (69%) and Formosa Steel IB (31%).

Last month, the first magnetite product was produced at the project. The Iron Bridge project is expected to produce 22 million tonnes per annum of high-grade magnetite concentrate.