Monday 24 July 2023

Meet Matt Plichta, Indigenous and Local Procurement Manager, Rio Tinto

Matt Plichta is a proud Kungarakan man from the Finniss River region of the Northern Territory.  He is also the Indigenous and Local Procurement Manager at Rio Tinto and joined the company as a graduate metallurgical engineer fresh out of university over 18 years ago.

“My interest in the mining industry was sparked in my teenage years when I heard the stories from my Nan of our family conducting small scale artisanal mining of an alluvial Cassiterite (Tin) deposit on Country in the early 1900s. I was also drawn to the vast array of opportunities that came with being in a global company.”

Matt has worked in Business Development, Commercial and Argyle Diamonds at Rio, across global locations in the Kimberleys, Perth, London, Antwerp and Singapore, and has a wealth of knowledge across the whole value chain of the business.

“When I reflect on my career journey, Rio has enabled me to take advantage of some fantastic opportunities, with the help of inspiring mentors. I’ve always sought new opportunities that help me get outside of my comfort zone and challenge my adaptability; both technically and culturally.”

In his current role, Matt and his team are responsible for Indigenous and local procurement across all of Rio’s Australian operations.

“I have always wanted to make a difference. And another reason why I’ve worked for the business for so many years is my aspiration to catalyse and be part of a cultural change in the mining industry.”

“At Rio, we are improving our approach to Indigenous business development and engagement in Australia and around the world. Being part of a company that is enabling new opportunities for local Indigenous businesses is so rewarding when you see the positive impact it can have.”

In 2022, Rio spent A$565 million with 154 Indigenous businesses across Australia, 40% higher than the year before (which was also 40% than the year before that). But it is the economic and social impact of this spend that is the real story.

“Partnerships with local suppliers support jobs and the local economy and encourage innovation. It is this that will help keep the communities in which we operate strong and sustainable now and into the future.”

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