SOUTHERN Ports has awarded a $2.4-million contract for an infrastructure upgrade at the Port of Esperance.

Indigenous company First Nation Engineering has been tasked with replacing four conveyor galleries on the port’s CV26 conveyor. The like-for-like components will be fabricated offsite to help minimise disruptions at the port.

The conveyor plays a vital role in facilitating up to 11.5 million tonnes of iron ore exports each year, as part of the port’s iron ore circuit.

“Ports by their very nature are exposed to harsh coastal conditions which means that to get the most out of our assets, we need to regularly maintain and upgrade them,” Southern Ports CEO Keith Wilks said.

“We’re currently undertaking our largest capital works program in our history which has involved working with a number of local and Indigenous contractors and partners.

“We’re thrilled to have First Nation Engineering onboard for the first time.”

First Nation Engineering is an incorporated company established by Carey Group and CPC Engineering, who share a vision for sustainable business and Indigenous participation.

First Nation Engineering general manager Jo Abraham said this is the first time the business has worked with Southern Ports, but both parent companies have a long history with undertaking quality work across Southern Ports’ operations.

“We’re excited to be working with an organisation that plays such a vital role in regional WA and that is backing our vision to develop an exceptional First Nations engineering company,” said Ms Abraham.

“Our team has started the fabrication process and we’re preparing for mobilisation and installation later this year.”

Once fabricated, the components will be transported by road to Esperance in July and August ahead of the September installation.