Port Pirie to host mining conference with a local theme

EXPO: Hugh Richter, left, managing-director of engineering firm S.J. Cheesman, chats with conference and expo organiser Mark Malcolm at the Northern Festival Centre.

EXPO: Hugh Richter, left, managing-director of engineering firm S.J. Cheesman, chats with conference and expo organiser Mark Malcolm at the Northern Festival Centre.

BIG: Nyrstar is one of the "Big Four" companies that are stepping up local procurement contracts.

BIG: Nyrstar is one of the "Big Four" companies that are stepping up local procurement contracts.

The big mining and processing companies are reaching out to the little guys.

As major firms grow financially and increase their industrial footprint, there is the need for local suppliers to provide key elements of their expansion and consolidation.

Finally, smaller companies are joining the "kings".

To mark the economic boost for towns such as Port Pirie in hosting the suppliers, there will be a celebration of local contract arrangements at the Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf Conference and Trade Expo in Port Pirie on August 20, 21 and 22.

"After 15 conferences, we are getting to this point where major producers and energy projects are taking a commitment to local suppliers," said organiser Mark Malcolm.

The accent on regional contractors is evident in the conference's decision to host a "Maximising Local Content" session to close the event on August 22.

It will involve OZ Minerals, GFG Alliance (steel baron Sanjeev Gupta's company), Nyrstar and BHP, known as the "Big Four".

They will have their own session earlier, but the local content program will look at such matters as BHP's Local Buying Program in which Upper Spencer Gulf suppliers are targeted, OZ Minerals Supplier Engagement Program for Carapateena mine and Nyrstar's multi-million-dollar Local Business Priority Program.

"They are all committed to do more in local content ... there is a real shift to the major players wanting to make a contribution to the community in which they operate," Mr Malcolm said.

Premier Steven Marshall, federal Resources Minister Senator Matt Canavan and state Mining and Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan will speak at the conference at the Northern Festival Centre.

Locally-based Independent Frome MP Geoff Brock will open day two of the conference. It is expected to be attended by more than 400 including heads of industry.

Displays of machinery will spill into Gertrude Street in front of the venue.

Alistair Cavill, of Adelaide-based Cavpower, which supplies earthmovers and other heavy equipment, will outline his family business on day one.

Meanwhile, Electranet will give an insight into its $260 million project to run a high-voltage line from Port Augusta to Roxby Downs linking Prominent Hill and the new mine at Carapateena.

Mr Malcolm said OZ Minerals would enter a long-term pricing agreement with Electranet for supply of the energy.

Renewable energy projects would be described by the Gupta-linked company SIMEC Energy. These include solar, big battery and pumped hydro.

Mr Malcolm said ICN would summarise more than a dozen renewable energy projects for the north.

"It will give people in the industry valuable market intelligence and the opportunity to engage face-to-face with major customers in resources and energy," he said.

The town's economy will gain a welcome lift from the influx of visitors to the conference - surely another triumph for the "little guys".

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