From little things, big things grow

The famous music lyrics ‘from little things, big things grow’ couldn’t ring truer for Kuuwa Managing Director Wes Chapman.

Three years ago, Mr Chapman’s majority-owned Aboriginal mining rental business Kuuwa secured a contract with BHP through the Local Buy Program, which supports local Indigenous-owned businesses.

“Since then, we have never looked back,” Wes shared.

Kuuwa has grown from a small scale business renting trucks and light vehicles to the mining sector, to electric vehicles and hybrid models, to large scale mining and construction industry equipment hire.
“We have just provided ~$8 million worth of plant equipment to South Flank and also deliver vehicles and trucks to Jimblebar, Mining Area C, Port Hedland port operations and Whaleback in Newman,” Wes said.

“BHP has been one of our major supporters and they have really started ramping things up for us, recently providing us with a vendor number which means we can work together in partnership and increase our footprint across BHP’s WA Iron Ore sites." 

“It is huge that we have been able to sign this vendor deal with one of the world’s biggest mining companies and that we can support other businesses in regional WA at the same time.”

Kuuwa partners with local businesses in regional towns to maintain its ever-expanding fleet and to deliver additional vehicles, trucks and plant to sites.

In Newman, where BHP’s Pilbara operations began with mining at Mt Whaleback in 1968, CWC Lube Mechanical Services supports car hire businesses that supply vehicles to BHP, including Kuuwa.

Winston Walcien, the owner of CWC, worked with Wes 15 years ago in Port Hedland, and they are now back working together, with business booming for both. He now employs 11 people, up from one in 2019.

“I opened this workshop in 2017 and within five years I have gone from one person, just me, to having 11 employees, “Winston said.

“It has been a steady increase in work ever since. BHP rents most of the vehicles that come through the workshop, and we deliver the vehicles to site.”

Mr Walcien, who has lived in Newman for 15 years, also opened a workshop in Port Hedland two years ago as a result of growing local demand for his services.