Mining conglomerate Rio Tinto has provided 6,000 litres of hand cleaning products to remote communities in a bid to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities.

Partnering with Perth-based freight and logistics company, Matic Transport, the products went to communities in Western Australia’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions as well as communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Sourcing the anti-viral and anti-bacterial products from local, family-owned Perth manufacturer, Able WestChem, Matic Transport donated their time and services and made the 15,000-kilometre journey from Perth to communities across the top of Australia, including:

  • Roebourne, WA
  • Tom Price, WA
  • Pannawonica, WA
  • Paraburdoo, WA
  • Kununurra, WA
  • Warmun and smaller surrounding communities, WA
  • Weipa, QLD
  • Nhulunbuy, NT
  • West Arnhem, NT.

Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation in Roebourne received 1,000 litres of hand sanitiser products for local community members.

Murujuga Chief Executive Peter Jeffries welcomed the donation with open arms.

“It will be very important for our members to receive this donation of anti-bacterial hand-cleaning soap to help contain the spread of the virus in the community,” Jeffries said.

This is the second donation the Roebourne community has received from Rio Tinto, with hand hygiene and cleaning products being provided to local schools across WA, including Roebourne District High School and Roebourne Early Learning Centre, ahead of their reopening for term two.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Chris Salisbury said the health and safety of community members continues to be Rio Tinto’s “number one priority”.

“We are supporting a wide range of initiatives like this which are designed to help these communities respond and recover from the challenges presented by COVID-19,” Salisbury said.

“Together with Matic, we are glad to be helping vulnerable and remote communities in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, to stay safe.”

The mining giant has also provided Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation and Pilbara Meta Maya with hygiene supplies.

Matic Group Company Director Danny Matic said his organisation is proud to be part of the Rio Tinto family and this donation initiative.

“Our pledge to communities through our partnership with Rio Tinto Iron Ore is to engage with Indigenous communities in a manner that is inclusive, respects rights, culture and everyone’s way of life.”

As part of their COVID-19 response, Rio Tinto is also working with the Department of Communities to provide satellite phones to ensure remote communities remain connected with services.

By Hannah Cross