Relationship building starts with finding the front door
They are the elements used to make the permanent magnet motors that power high-efficiency electric vehicles and wind turbines, air conditioning and industrial robots, yet the resources market for heavy rare earths dysprosium and terbium is not widely known.
Northern Minerals spent seven years exploring in the East Kimberley for the two heavy rare earths, and pressed the button in 2017 for a $56 million pilot plant development project at the Browns Range Project. If the plant is successful, the company will build a full-scale $329 million plant.
But to pioneer a new export industry for WA it needed to raise its profile, garner government assistance and engage with its local community.
With advances in mining technology, there is growing interest in raw material commodities not traditionally mined in WA, like these heavy rare earths.
As you would expect, competition is intense for investors, government support and media coverage.
Entrepreneurial companies are striving to get ahead of the pack, prove their resource and develop an export market to make the most of new windows of technology-led demand.
We worked with Northern Minerals to bring the enormous potential of their resource plans to the attention of the right people.
Northern Minerals’ vision has won the support of project partners, shareholders, financiers, government and media.
We used videos, speeches, briefings, letters and traditional and social media to tell help this hard-working mining start-up tell its story and make it over the final investment line, through construction and into operations.
In July 2018, WA Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan and Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer officially opened the pilot stage processing plant. One year previously WA Premier Mark McGowan visited to mark the start of construction. Our project team worked around the clock to deliver these important milestone events and promote them to investors and media.
WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston appointed Managing Director George Bauk to a reference group advising on the Government’s Energy Materials Strategy.
An application to the Federal Government resulted in a $4.8million grant to establish a training to work program to prepare local indigenous people for employment.
$4.8m in funding
Federal Government funding for indigenous training-to-work program
Connecting with political leaders
Key Ministers and policy makers have attended milestone events
Advocacy on infrastructure
Positive engagement with the Halls Creek, WA and Federal Governments to improve road access
In late 2010, Northern Minerals identified an issue. While the team had been working hard to make our project a reality, we had little experience in working with government and our relationships weren’t strong. As the new Managing Director of Northern Minerals, I only half-jokingly said: “Where’s the front door of WA Parliament.”
Partnering with Cannings Purple’s government relations team, we identified what we needed to be talking to government about and developed a strategy and moving work plan. I learned where the front door to parliament is and now enjoy good relationships with key government stakeholders. The WA and Federal Government know about our exciting Browns Range project and support it and that’s important for a groundbreaking venture like this.
George Bauk, Managing Director, Northern Minerals