Economic spin-off for Whyalla from BHP Olympic Dam

CEREMONY: Tracey Cuttriss-Smith, left, of C-Res, Premier Steven Marshall and Nathan Flaman, of, BHP Olympic Dam, were at the awards ceremony in Adelaide.
CEREMONY: Tracey Cuttriss-Smith, left, of C-Res, Premier Steven Marshall and Nathan Flaman, of, BHP Olympic Dam, were at the awards ceremony in Adelaide.

BHP’s Olympic Dam and partner C-Res have set the standard of excellence for working with local businesses and communities including Whyalla.

They were recognised at the Premier’s Awards gala at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Adelaide.

Both companies provide the Local Buying Program in South Australia and won the METS Excellence in Working with Communities category at the recent awards in energy and mining.

The ceremony recognised excellence by leading resources and energy sector companies and organisations in the areas of diversity, working with communities and innovation.

The Local Buying Program was established in South Australia in 2017 to support small local businesses in the Upper Spencer Gulf and Far North regions to supply goods and services to the Olympic Dam uranium, gold and copper mine.

The program links with Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf to work with firms and identify business growth opportunities.

It involves 81 approved businesses including 21 in Whyalla,18 in Port Augusta, eight in Port Pirie and 34 in Roxby Downs.

In the last half of 2018, about $1.7 million has gone through the program to business. Since inception in October, 2017, until December last year, about $2.6 million has been paid out. Upper Spencer Gulf businesses have provided:

  • Non-production consumables
  • Freight and logistics
  • Maintenance and repair hardware
  • Training services
  • Office consumables
  • Office furniture
  • Printing services
  • HSE services

The program recognises that the complexities of bidding for work with BHP can present barriers for small businesses and tackles these challenges by providing a dedicated procurement platform for registered suppliers. 

C-Res, a cost-neutral entity, offers direct support from a locally-based business engagement adviser in Roxby Downs and an experienced program administration team.

The company’s chief executive officer, Tracey Cuttriss-Smith, is proud of what the program has achieved in SA in just 14 months of operation. 

“I am so happy to have been involved with launching the program last year and now, one year later, seeing what it has achieved for small businesses in Roxby Downs and the Upper Spencer Gulf,” she said.

“We are equally passionate about promoting the local economy and maximising opportunities for small local businesses.

“We look forward to more fantastic outcomes as the program continues to grow.”

Head of supply with BHP Olympic Dam Nathan Flaman said the company understood “the importance of thriving local business communities”.

“We know it can sometimes be hard for smaller companies to engage with bigger companies such as BHP,” he said.

“After seeing the success of BHP’s Local Buying Program in Queensland, we launched the program in SA targeting local businesses in the Upper Spencer Gulf and Roxby Downs.

“So far, we have created 277 new work opportunities worth more than $2.4 million with an average payment time of under 13 days.

“This is a positive base to work from and we look forward to seeing the program expand further in SA.”

The success is a result of local suppliers and BHP embracing the mutual benefits that are offered.

Local businesses now have greater visibility of work opportunities offered by BHP and increased capability profiles to showcase and provide goods and services.  

The program has yielded some outstanding results.