Western Australia – The Golden Era

Kuuwa golden perfect storm

We’ve all seen them down at the beach in the height of summer with the bucket hats, vests with a million pockets and ankle boots buzzing around the sand looking for treasure while we are stripped down soaking up the sun.

While many of us are no doubt guilty of having a giggle at this scene down at Cottesloe it is fast become a popular past time in the Goldfields at the moment and local stores hiring out metal detectors are far from laughing.

With borders still closed and the Government encouraging us to ‘Wander out Yonder’ in our great state, people are thinking up new ways to explore at home.

There might be more to it than just the new experience as gold prices have hit a record high this year. Prices have reached over $2,800 AUD an ounce this year. We have not seen prices like this since 2011.  

Source – https://goldprice.org   

So perhaps when dad suggests the kids go searching for treasure, he isn’t far wrong!

The high gold prices aren’t only great for amateur gold hunters and mines currently in operation but for many that stopped production when the gold price was too low to sustain and are now expected to be brought back to life.

To top it off, there is also a new Top-10 global gold major on the block with Northern Star and Saracen merger this week. This will also see Kalgoorlie ‘Golden Mile’ consolidated under one owner for the first time in its 125+ year history.  

So good news for those selling gold, what about the rest of us?

You don’t have to be on site or digging around in the bush to cash in. You could dabble in the ASX but sadly this is where our advice stops on that front.

What we are most excited about is what this means for local communities.

With successful mines comes jobs and infrastructure. The Labor Government led its campaign with Jobs for Locals and now partly because of COVID that isn’t even really a choice but a necessity.

But how will that go? We wrote last year about the skill shortage we were facing and that was before all hell let lose!

BHP has already said it will preference West Australians over interstate FIFO workers to mitigate difficulties with WA’s hard border.

Karratha has done a lot of work to attract not only mine workers but whole families to the area. This will attract some skilled workers who would otherwise be put off by the FIFO lifestyle.  

We have no clear indication as to when the WA border will open but we do know that 2020 Diggers and Dealers will be a massive one next week in Kalgoorlie as we are still allowed to ‘Wander out Yonder’ in WA after all.

We will keep watching this space as gold in WA goes from strength to strength.

6 Months of Kuuwa

6 months of kuuwa

Six months ago today we headed off to the Mining Club lunch with our pull up banners, merchandise and a couple of cheesy grins.

Rewind a couple of months and Kuuwa was just an idea on a piece of paper.

We lined up all our ducks. Logo designed. Adverts in the Business News and The West all set up. Social media channels populated. Website maps drawn up. And the all-important trucker caps ordered. But we needed a launch date to focus on.

So the Mining Club email came through and we pinned the date on the board – 28th March 2019 was to be our launch. We quickly emailed Casandra and set up sponsoring the event – hence the banners. Don’t just turn up with banners, Cassandra will not be happy. Take it from us.

Russell’s Kuuwa video played on the big screen and we were off.

And we haven’t really stopped since.

Site visits all round the state. The sheer magnitude of these mines gets us every time, even now.

We’ve been to countless Mining Club events, a few Business News breakfasts and their 40 under 40 Awards Gala as well as a couple of important charity balls – including the Pirate Ship Foundation.  

We headed to Sydney for Supply Nation Connect and we followed them to Karratha for an indigenous industry trade show. To top it off, we managed to keep our liver intact on a quick trip to Diggers and Dealers.

If you are still reading, we’ll share this with you. Let’s talk about how giddy we got when we sent a couple of vehicles to the Mitchel Freeway expansion project. Yes, we went up and down the freeway looking for our water truck like a couple of kids at Christmas.

But it hasn’t all been fun and games, we have had a couple of hick ups along the way but they have taught us what is important and has made us a little tougher – bit like our trusty old LVs. Shameless plug – sorry.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us this far, let’s see what the next 6 months have in store.

Kuuwa, your trusted Indigenous partner.

Trusted Indigenous Partner

Choosing businesses to work with is hard.

That guy your family friend met at lawn bowls, you know the one he thinks is a top bloke and has a business that is a bit like yours. Good enough reason to give him a go? Probably not but you wouldn’t be the first person to be fouled by the ‘family friend’.

So what makes Kuuwa Rentals worth giving a fair go?

Firstly, who are we?

Kuuwa Rentals specialises in mine spec light, heavy and specialised vehicles for all environments including mining, civil, construction and resource projects.  We source high quality vehicles from our partners to guarantee they perform for our clients.

We know that your business is as important to you as our business is to us, so we carefully select who we work with. Our suppliers are all respected dealers and manufacturers with successful histories working in Australia.  

But lots of companies do that so what is different about Kuuwa?

Bespoke.

Each project is unique and has diverse specific requirements, so each vehicle must be designed to your specifications. We don’t pull vehicles from our yard, you tell us what you want and we source and design the exact machine you are chasing.

We put together a Light Vehicle comparison chart to help you get the correct vehicle for the job.

Proudly Indigenous.

Kuuwa Rentals is Indigenous owned. We are proud of our Western Australian roots so we called our rental company, Kuuwa, which is the indigenous word for West.

If your business does not already have a structured approach to advance reconciliation, Kuuwa can be part of  that process. We work closely with our partners so they can implement a framework towards a structured approach through the four stages of their Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).  

Being part of Supply Nation has allowed us to identify other genuine Indigenous businesses to partner with as well as allowing Kuuwa to be identified as a trusted Indigenous business too.

Reinvesting in Communities.

We are passionate about Indigenous communities and giving back in a way that will develop them and help them prosper.

One of our passion projects this year has been the Onslow School Breakfast Club. Kids flock to the Keeping Place every morning before school and are given breakfast and a packed lunch to ensure they are well fuelled for a full day at school. Since the inception of the program the local school has seen an increase in attendance.

Small steps but we are focused on encouraging young indigenous kids to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

We are focused on bridging the gap between the mining sector and indigenous communities. If we sound like the kind of business you want to do business with, then we would love to hear from you.

Contact us.

Karratha, ‘Good Country’

Karratha mining town

Where do you land if you travel 1,500 km north of Perth? In ‘Good Country’ which you might know better as Karratha.

You can see why it gained the Aboriginal name for ‘Good Country’ with its all year-round sunshine, being surrounded by iconic natural attractions, the largest shopping centre in the Pilbara on its door step and let us not forget about the abundance of natural resources.

The town was originally created to service and accommodate the workers of Hamersley Iron, Robe River Associates, the Dampier Salt Company and the North West Shelf Gas and Petroleum project so it is no wonder that the town of an estimates population of 18,000 is still heavily contributing to the mining workforce of local projects. It is in their blood.

Let’s look at what is happening in Karratha now.

Talk about diverse. Karratha has gold, urea fertilizer, sea salt, oil & gas, methanol and good old iron ore. No wonder Karratha is considered the Powerhouse of the Pilbara.

As well as current projects there is a projected $65 billion worth of new projects on the cards over the next five years. Projects include three big iron ore projects by Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and BHP as well as Woodside’s Scarborough and Browse developments.

With all this new development coupled with existing projects, Karratha looks set to head into another construction boom. There’s a new hanger going in to Karratha Airport to service offshore islands like Varanus Island gas processing facility and new policies have been set by the city council to encourage permanent residents over FIFO.

Lancorp already has blocks ready to go in Madigan and Mulataga and upgrades to health, leisure and education facilities as well as new transport and service infrastructure are already in the pipeline.  

Lancorp has said that there will be sites zoned ‘City Centre’ in the heart of the Karratha CBD available towards the end of 2019 and there is opportunity to develop and operate a 4-star hotel in the city’s main street within The Quarter. And to top it off, just 4km from the CBD is the proposed development of Tambrey Shopping Precinct.      

Is Karratha heading into another construction boom, or has it has already started? With 836 jobs listed on Seek.com as of July 2019 for the area of Karratha, 455 alone are for the mining and resource sector it would appear something is bubbling. 

So other than the odd tropical cyclones, Karratha looks like a good place to be.

If you are heading to Karratha for a trip and want to learn more about the local culture, join traditional custodians on a 1.5 hour rock art and cultural experience in the Murrunjuga National Park. Only 30 minutes from the town centre.

Do you have the right LV for the job?

Mine Spec Light Vehicles

You know you need a mine spec light vehicle, but do you know what make, model, accessories and specifications you need to be compliant for your mine site?

What you do know is mining sites are some of the toughest workplaces in the world and any vehicle to venture on to site needs to be tough, so you are likely looking for a Toyota. In particular a Toyota Landcruiser or Toyota Hilux. Come on, we have all watched Top Gear, the car that wouldn’t give up.  

Now, you won’t be attempting to crush your vehicle or drive it down stairs, but you will be driving it on some pretty tough terrain and due to the diversity of mine site conditions each mine has designed its own set of specifications governing the vehicles operating onsite.  

Let’s look at your standard Toyota 4WD straight out the factory. Yes, it is great for off-roading and piling everything but the kitchen sink in for camping trips and yes, it appears ok for mine sites but usually that is not the case. Your mine site is an extremely hazardous environment and your company, quite rightly so, will have several safety concerns. Add-ons to your standard Toyota will be mandatory.

We know every mine site is different and has diverse specific requirements, so we put together a comparison table to help you get a better understanding of what accessories your vehicles might need. This is just a guide and you should check with your company’s mine specifications policies for further clarity. If you would like more information on Kuuwa’s mine spec light vehicles for hire or a high res copy of the table, please email us.

Kuuwa offers bespoke vehicles, designed and built for your requirements. Due to their durability and reliability we recommend the following but are happy to look at other options.

Toyota Furtuner Wagon 4WD

Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series Tray Back Dual Cab 4WD

Toyota Hilux Dual Cab 4WD Diesel

Toyota Hilux Single Cab 4WD

Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series Tray Back Single Cab 4wd Diesel

Toyota LandCruiser Prado Wagon 4WD

Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series Wagon 4WD

Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series Troop Carrier Wagon 4WD

STEM UnitED

STEM UnitED

We caught up with Fire Tech Managing Director, Andrea Conte, to talk robots, drones and experiments.

Fire Tech launched STEM UnitED in conjunction with RUC, WA Mining Club and Platform Communications to be able to offer free STEM sessions to low and mid socio-economic status schools around WA.

Thus far the program has only reached metro areas, so we invited Andrea to meet our friends at Thalanyji Foundation to have a chat about a potential collaboration in their home ground – Onslow.

We were blown away with some of the projects the kids get involved in and how easily they pick these skills up. If we believe claims from a recent Foundation for Young Australians report, a whacking 75% of future roles will require STEM skills. That is phenomenal, and we want to be of ensuring children in indigenous communities have the same opportunities as Metro kids to gain these skills and experiences.

Who knows, perhaps the next Elon Musk is hiding up in the Pilbara!      

WA Mining Club Young Professionals Networking

WA Mining Club Young Professionals

Perth Winter is hitting us hard but that didn’t stop the Kuuwa team or the sold-out crowd braving the elements for last week’s Mining Club Young Professionals Networking function at the QT in Perth.

So what, you might ask, was good enough reason for us to stay out late on a blustery school night?

We are big fans of the WA Mining Club, you may have noticed since our launch earlier in the year we haven’t missed an event. We love the lunch time catch ups, hearing from the host of great speakers, crossing our fingers we might win the door prize and let’s face it, the lunch is considerably better than the salad we have sitting in the fridge back at the office.

When the last Mining Club’s Young Professionals event was announced we pondered it and decided we would chance our luck as passing for YP! We went, we loved it, we weren’t the oldest in the room and prior to popular belief that we were going to be hanging out with ‘kids’ – we certainly were not. So when the June event was announced we were first in line for tickets and come hail, rain or shine we were going to be there.

Thankfully our second attempt as YP did not let us down either.

The topic of the night – Culture, Our Most Precious Resource.

We heard from a panel of industry leaders with varying views and experience of working in mining and differing experiences of the evolution and varying levels of importance placed on culture within the workplace. 

Top of the chain was Stuart Mathews, Gold Fields Australia, who was heavily involved in the implementation of the current values found at Gold Fields and he discussed how he has seen culture change significantly over the years.

The other end of the spectrum was Matt Thompson, Evolution Mining, who has been in the field for a far shorter time and values learning from those more experienced and learning from past mistakes.

Also on the panel was Yvonne Fahey, Alcoa, who believes culture is a learned behaviour and cannot be forced on individuals. She also talked about a collaborative approach and although it must be led from the top it must be embraced and supported by all levels.

Sam Retallack chaired the panel and was able to give her insight as Head of People and Culture at IGO on how workers adapt and adopt culture.

What we took away from the evening was that investing time and effort in your company’s culture will serve you well into the future. It isn’t as simple as surveying your staff, it is a feeling you get when you walk through a work area and gage the vibe.

Invest and you will have happy staff creating a buzz around your workplace that will have a flow on affect. You will have created something just as contagious as a yawn… a smile!   

Where will the latest ‘Boom’ take us?

For most of us in the ‘Boom or Bust’ State this is a standard discussion around the kitchen table and everyone has a theory on how big this one will be, how long it will last and what it will do to or for the State.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…

So let us begin with the Good news. We have a number of fantastic projects in 2019 that should relight the Mining Fire including Eliwana, Koodaideri and South Flank.

The Fortescue Metals Group’s (FMG) Eliwana is estimated to be a $1.7 billion project, expected to operate at 30 million tonnes per annum with capacity for up to 50mtpa over a mine life of at least 24 years, creating up to 1900 jobs during construction and 500 to keep operational.

Rio Tinto trumps FMG’s efforts with the approval of a $2.6 billion iron ore mine. Koodaideri mine is set to be Rio’s most technologically advanced mine to date. The buzz word around this mine… Automation! Koodaideri is expected to create 2000 construction jobs and 600 once operational. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 million tonnes.

And the winner is… BHP with their $4.7 billion South Flank iron ore project, creating 2,500 jobs during construction and 600 ongoing. The mine is due to open by 2021 and run until at least 2046.

The Bad… Skill shortage. We have just mentioned 3 fairly sizable projects and over 6,000 jobs during construction between them. That is a lot of skilled workers which we know we just don’t have here in WA at the moment!

What might that mean for the city? Skilled workers migrate to the mine sites leaving us city dwellers high and dry? Influx of skilled and experienced immigrants with their family in tow? Reintroduction of skilled visas for WA? Or are we facing massive project delays until a solution is found? However it is tackled, it needs to happen soon.   

And finally, the Ugly. It is never straight forward starting a new mine. It is quite literally a mine field to keep each stakeholder happy, abide by all the rules and regulations and let’s not get started on the logistics of projects of this magnitude. FMG hit a snag early on, one which is thankfully resolved, which has seen them have to fork out up to $3 million to contribute to an approved fund to offset up to 3,690 hectares of native vegetation clearing as they revise the Eliwana rail line to avoid damaging Aboriginal heritage sites. Pretty sure each project will come up against a few twists and turns to keep them on their toes. One thing is for sure, if they hire Kuuwa vehicles it’ll be plain sailing.  

So all in all it would appear there is some steady movement in WA that should keep the chit chat around the kitchen table alive and well. And bear in mind that is only accounting for iron ore, we haven’t even touched on other commodities yet!

To find out more about Kuuwa vehicles click here.