Yolngu Business Enterprises (YBE)

As Rio Tinto Alcans multi-billion dollar Gove upgrade nears its completion and begins to wind down, the major national construction firms that produced the work have begun to pack their bags. The expansion has meant production of alumina has increased, as have the movement and processing of ore, and the processing of waste. So, while major construction wanes, the requirements for expanded ongoing service provision creates new opportunities for Gove region businesses.<p>
One of those taking full advantage of their local ability to provide those services is YBE (2),East Arnhem Lands largest Aboriginal-owned contracting firm.<p>
In maximising the value of contracts between the two companies, local Yolngu have an opportunity to participate in mainstream employment. Currently, pproximately 35 Aboriginal people work for YBE in various capacities, making it one of the Territorys largest Indigenous employers.
The work YBE performs is essential to the operation of Rio Tinto Alcans alumina production at Gove. It has amassed an enormous fleet of heavy machinery and smaller vehicles, including dozers, scrapers, loaders, road trains, excavators, and dump trucks. Haulage of bauxite from Rio Tinto Alcans Rocky Bay site continues to be a mainstay of YBE's business, accounting for a considerable percentage of the company's revenue. This year they will move more than one million tonnes. <p>
Another area in which YBE delivers service to the mine ownership is in the disposal of waste material from the processing plant. That residue is taken in a slurry form to ponds behind YBE offices where it is processed. <p>
We mud farm it, explains Mr Aitchison. Our bulldozers and excavators work with Rio Tinto Alcan in a strategically planned process to spread, dry and stack residue it so that later it can be rehabilitated.
Rehabilitation of mined areas is one of YBEs core responsibilities. The nursery
provides native seedlings and plants for landscaping commercial and residential
areas and rehabilitating areas affected by mining and processing. It is the long term business charter between Rio Tinto Alcan and YBE that has really strong mechanisms so that both companies are in a win-win situation, says Mr Aitchison. We try and do good business that is mutually beneficial to both companies. Strong support from Rio Tinto means we are both looking for new synergies and opportunities. <p>

<b>Seizing the Moment</b><p>
Specialising in civil engineering, road construction, general earthworks and mine site rehabilitation, YBE is set for substantial growth over the next five years. The company is supported by a business charter with miner Rio Tinto Alcan that works towards a mutually sustainable commercial relationship maximising the value of contracts between the two parties. Sustaining and developing Yolngu people's employment opportunities is a key element in what looks to be a bright economic future for the companys 90 staff. As the Rio Tinto Alcan G3 project has been commissioned at the refinery, we have been proactive in seeking extra work in that area, reports YBE CEO Glenn Aitchison. Probably another 20 per cent. In the past two years our contacts have grown from an average of $12 million to over $15 million. <p>

YBE (2) (Yolngu Business Enterprises) is a unique company, wholly owned by the Indigenous leaders of East Arnhem Land, with its board of directors made up of the 26 dilaks the regions traditional owners. <p>

The company is fully privatised, receiving no direct government funding. It was established over 30 years ago to participate in mining and share in its wealth production. <p>

The group recognises that mining has a regional impact, which is why all dilaks from the region are represented, not just those at the mine and refinery sites. This company gives us a real opportunity for Yolngu and Balanda (Europeans) to work together, says board director, Reverend Dr Djiniyini Gondarra. Balanda can bring their skills and expertise to the company while at the same time they can learn from us. In this way we learn to live where our two worlds meet. <p>
YBE and Rio Tinto Alcan operate under a business charter that ensures contract opportunities arising from mining will flow on to Indigenous people in the area. The charter provides a framework and structure that manages the business
relationship and existing contracts between Rio Tinto Alcan Gove and YBE. <p>
We try and do good business that is mutually beneficial to both companies.<p>
Strong support from Rio Tinto means we are both looking for new synergies and opportunities. <p>

Project description: 
Founded by Gatjil Djerrkura nearly 40 years ago YBE is East Arnhem Land's largest Aboriginal-owned contracting firm.
Lead Organisation: 
Yolngu Business Enterprises
Lead WWW: 
Contact Name: 
Glen Aitchison
Contact Phone: 
Contact Mobile: 
Contact Fax: 
Contact Email: 
Support Type: 
Current Partners: 
Currency Type: 
Northern Territory<br>Northern Territory - East Arnhem Land