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BHP Spends over $1 Billion Through Local Buying Program

Zak Kirkup -

BHP's Local Buying Program, which supports small, local and Indigenous businesses across Australia, has reached a significant milestone by spending over $1 billion in the past 10 years, benefiting almost 1,600 small businesses with over 67,000 packages of work. Established in 2012, the Local Buying Program operates in Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia.

One such business that has benefited from the program is Minga Milku, a 100% Indigenous-owned business that supplies signage and safety equipment. The company, founded by Tjupan and Yamatji man Jamie Hunt, received a contract from BHP's Local Buying Program in late 2022 to outfit new accommodation rooms at BHP Nickel West's Mt Keith Operation with televisions, signage, rugs, and bespoke Tjiwarl artwork created by Jamie's sister, Nikita.

The Minga Milku Director expressed his appreciation for the Local Buying Program, stating that "this partnership means a lot to us. It's given me the opportunity to work on Country and to support the people around me. I've been able to involve family and to really develop as a business and a team."

In the 2021-22 financial year, BHP's total actual spend with Indigenous businesses increased by 74% to $46.9 million, which continued the year-
on-year increased spend from the industry giant.

Geraldine Slattery, BHP President Minerals Australia, acknowledged the Local Buying Program's contribution to helping local business, saying "more than $1 billion spent through BHP's local buying program is a huge milestone. BHP depends on the capability and talent of the many small, local and Indigenous businesses who support our operations across Australia. It's been wonderful to see them flourish as we forge new and deeper partnerships together."

The Local Buying Program was established in 2012 and is a partnership between BHP and C-Res. It aims to provide small businesses with opportunities to become part of BHP's supply chain through a streamlined onboarding, procurement, and payment process, including seven-day payment terms or less. The program's success has led to its expansion to all of BHP's Australian assets, as well as being replicated for its Minerals America operations.

Tracey Cuttriss-Smith, CEO of C-Res, expressed her gratitude for the program's success and its impact on small businesses and local communities, stating that "To see $1 billion paid out to small local and Indigenous businesses in just over 10 years of operation, is something that we never could have imagined. This money has helped businesses grow, helped sponsor sports teams and helped provide jobs and opportunities for community members."

The Local Buying Program has proven to be a vital component of BHP's commitment to supporting regional economies and local businesses with $16.5 billion in payments made to suppliers for the purchase of utilities, goods, and services.

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