A new pilot programme supporting the sustainability of Pilbara businesses by helping them better understand the needs and requirements of major mining customers and build capability was launched in Karratha today.

CITIC Pacific Mining (CPM) has partnered with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Entrepreneurs’ Programme to create the CPM (Sino Iron) Supplier Development Project.

The pilot will see eight small to medium-sized businesses, ranging from local engineering and civil works firms through to mechanical workshops, participate in the project. It’s the first time this Federally-funded service has been rolled out in regional Western Australia.

During the next 12 months, these local businesses will have one-on-one access to independent, industry-experienced business advisors.

The advisors will conduct a confidential gap analysis and provide best practice recommendations, focusing on themes including:
  • Stakeholder Relationship Management;
  • Commercial/Project Management;
  • Tendering;
  • Risk Management;
  • Production Quality and Efficiency; and
  • Financial Management and Administration.
Project Manager Michael Beaton said the project’s underlying approach was “to make good Australian businesses better.”

“By their nature, small to medium businesses are often understandably focused on the here and now – winning the next bit of work and delivering on their commitments to clients,” Michael said.

“Developing the internal capabilities of these businesses to understand the needs of their major customers that will enhance mutually beneficial long-term relationships is often challenging.”

“The Entrepreneurs’ Programme, through third party facilitation and industry expertise, helps to create these stronger linkages at no cost to participating businesses.”

CPM’s Sino Iron project 100km south of Karratha is a pioneer in the downstream processing of iron ore in Western Australia.

The $18 billion fully integrated megaproject employs about 3000 people and is Australia’s largest producer of magnetite concentrate for overseas steel mills. The economic benefits to the Western Australian community are significant.

Deloitte Access Economics estimates more than $50 billion will be spent on goods and services in WA over the life of the Sino Iron project.

CPM Commercial Services Director Fei Xu said the company was pleased to support the Entrepreneurs’ Programme’s regional roll-out in Western Australia, by identifying pilot participants, as well as best-practice themes.

“We understand any business is only as good as the supply chain that supports it,” Mr Fei said.

“We see real value in building stronger links with local vendors and developing capability to strengthen their prospects for long-term success – not only with CITIC but with other major mining and energy operations across the Pilbara.”