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New Waalitj Centre a real work of art

Mineral Resources (MRL) recently hosted members of our workforce and guests from local Indigenous communities at our Koolyanobbing Village for the official opening of the Waalitj Centre – a new supply warehouse supporting our Yilgarn operations.

The Waalitj Centre (‘waalitj’ meaning ‘eagle’ in Noongar language) now offers a new, centralised location for storing and managing MRL equipment – while its exterior showcases an impressive mural representing our relationship and respect for Traditional Owners of the lands on which we operate.

Commissioned by respected local Aboriginal artist, Aaron Hayden, the artwork draws inspiration from his experience of the Yilgarn region and represents MRL’s ongoing relationships with the local Njaki Njaki People.

Artwork inspired by Country

Aaron is a proud Njaki Njaki man with traditional connections to the Yilgarn through his grandmother, while his grandfather has connections with the Ballardong People of the Avon region.

Aaron said his artwork usually depicts different aspects of his Country, which inspired his focus and creativity for the Waalitj Centre mural.

“Speaking with Mineral Resources, I first engaged them on the colours to feature in the artwork,” Hayden said.

“The red represents the land and the blue references the waterways that run through our Country.”

“From here I developed the concept of bringing in the Njaki Njaki mob and incorporated them into the piece, holding a community meeting with Mineral Resources. That’s the main feature.”

The artwork also references MRL’s four operational sites and features representations of the men and women who work across our operations in the Yilgarn.

Aaron’s art can be seen in WA Parliament House and other government buildings, with work also distributed through private sales and exhibits across Australia. The original artwork created for MRL will be become part of our new head office art collection.

Working better with each other and the community

MRL’s General Manager Yilgarn Operations, Scott Oakley, said the Waalitj Centre supports improvements to the way we transport and manage our goods across the region.

“Prior to the warehouse being built, distribution and tracking of MRL goods across our vast Yilgarn operations could at times be challenging to manage,” Oakley said.

“The Waalitj Centre simplifies our approach to goods distribution and reflects our collective focus on continuous improvement, innovative thinking and working smarter to become more productive every day.”

MRL’s presence in the Yilgarn region includes our iron ore operations at Koolyanobbing and Carina, plus our Mount Marion lithium operation, which together contributes to our business success while supporting local people and communities.

Oakley said the new warehouse mural also reinforces MRL’s commitment to positive Aboriginal engagement in the areas where we operate.

“Aaron’s artwork is wonderful and presents a valuable reminder of the importance of our relationships with Traditional Owners – not just in the Yilgarn but right across our business.”

Our ongoing effort towards positive Aboriginal engagement

Our Community Relations Strategy outlines the priorities and commitments that underpin our legal social licence to operate, which includes respecting Indigenous culture and continuing to engage with local communities through business partnerships, and employment and development opportunities.

Our efforts to support positive Indigenous engagement, action and outcomes are further outlined in our Board-approved Reconciliation Action Plan, which is now undergoing standard review with Reconciliation Australia.

More information on our approach to community and Indigenous engagement is available on our website.