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First Nation Engineering charts new course for Indigenous business

Two leading WA engineering and mining and civil contracting companies have joined forces to establish the first Indigenous company to offer comprehensive design, construction and maintenance services across the resources, energy and agricultural sectors.

First Nation Engineering is an incorporated private company established by the Carey Group — Australia’s leading Aboriginal commercial enterprise, with over 27 years of project delivery excellence in the mining, civil and training industries — and CPC Engineering — which began in the Goldfields more than 50 years ago and now offers end-to-end mining and infrastructure services for clients State-wide.

It is a concept devised by Carey founder Daniel Tucker AM, CPC Engineering Chief Executive Officer Glen Weir, and non-executive director Ian Fletcher AM, reflecting long-standing business and personal relationships between the three which has enabled strong connections to be established across the senior levels of both organisations.

First Nation Engineering is Supply Nation certified.

It was established in response to tier-one mining companies approaching Carey to provide SMP and E&I services.

It will service these clients and is open to partnering with other companies that have a genuine commitment to delivering positive social and economic outcomes for Indigenous people.

Mr Weir and Mr Tucker met 40 years ago at Mt Windarra Nickel Project in the Goldfields near Laverton, then owned by Western Mining Corporation.

Mr Tucker said the experience he gained working at Windarra helped him to see the opportunity to establish an Indigenous-owned mining contracting business.

When he founded Carey Mining in 1995 after studying geology at Curtin University, WMC was one of the company’s first clients.

The Carey Group is recognised as the largest and most successful 100% Aboriginal-owned commercial enterprise in Australia.

Mr Weir said CPC Engineering and Carey had collaborated on several projects over many years. The personal connection between he, Mr Tucker, and Mr Fletcher ensured there was substantial trust. Mr Fletcher, who has extensive public and private business experience, was City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chief Executive Officer in the early 2000s when he met Mr Tucker.

 “Daniel and I have forged separate but similar careers in the contracting industry, but we are both committed to bringing positive, measurable change to the communities in which we live and work,” Mr Weir said.

“We see First Nation Engineering as an opportunity to build something quite significant.

“I share Daniel’s passion for family and sustainable business. First Nation Engineering is a way of fulfilling CPC’s commitment to provide employment opportunities for Indigenous people to help them to achieve their potential.

“There are a number of Indigenous companies providing engineering services in the resource, energy, infrastructure and agriculture sectors but none can boast more than 75 years of experience and the range of services that FNE can provide across mining, engineering design, construction and maintenance.

“FNE will provide access to the combined services, experience and skills of CPC and Carey in the one company that does not exist anywhere else.”

Carey and CPC Engineering have serviced major companies including CBH, BHP, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Rio Tinto, FMG, Northern Star, Woodside and the WA Water Corporation.

Carey is also involved in Aboriginal training, employment and community programs.

CPC Engineering is supporting Indigenous training and employment enterprises run by Carey, has strengthened and expanded its own Aboriginal training program, and has opened discussions with Curtin University about supporting its Indigenous engineering training course.

It has also partnered with several Indigenous charities and foundations.

First Nation Engineering is pursuing several tenders to win its first contract.

A percentage of profits from First Nation Engineering projects will be set aside for special purpose programs such as scholarships.

Mr Tucker said First Nation Engineering combined the strengths of both companies.

“The core focus of FNE is to deliver exceptional services to our partners while embracing the Aboriginal Supply Chain and driving powerful social and economic outcomes relating to Indigenous education, health, culture and community safety,” he said.

“My vision has always been to create sustainable business opportunities to share the wealth of the land with Aboriginal people, elevating Aboriginal businesses and creating further opportunities for Aboriginal people in mining.

“Clients of FNE can drive social value and deliver measurable ESG outcomes and support various foundations in Indigenous education, health, culture and community safety.

“Employees will work with equality in an environment that is culturally inclusive and respectful and are offered career development pathways to achieve their full potential.”

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