Small Business in the Pilbara

Pilbara Business is developing a diverse and competitive small to medium business sector is crucial to achieving sustainable economic growth and providing a diversity of career choices for Pilbara residents. Without the smaller businesses that perhaps only add to minimal services or lifestyle niches, it provides a happier place to live. 

Small business is essential to the functioning of the Pilbara economy. For this reason, developing a competitive and diverse small and medium business sector is crucial for providing various career options for Pilbara residents and achieving sustainable economic growth.

Although small businesses in the Pilbara may only add to its minimal services or lifestyle niches, they make an invaluable contribution to the economy and society. For instance, a fitness instructor or hairdresser may not work directly with big companies. However, they cater to the people themselves, ensuring they have a happier place to live in. Since they often have more direct contact with the general population and consumers, they’re more knowledgeable about what services and products would best serve the common good.

The Rise of Small Businesses in the Pilbara

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) experience unique challenges that often hamper their growth. The dominant mining industry, a lack of critical mass, and high business costs were common issues that resulted in an under-representation of many small to medium-sized organizations in the region.

Fortunately, commercial spaces now become more readily available, the Pilbara population increases, and the cost of running a business continues to normalize. These lead to more opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation, resulting in a more stable and diverse SME sector.

With a robust SME sector, residents can benefit from numerous job opportunities. It significantly reduces the unemployment rate in the region, which, in turn, stimulates its economic growth.


Opportunities in the Pilbara

As the Pilbara region’s population continues to grow, commercial space becomes more readily available and the costs associated with operating a business in the Pilbara gradually continue to normalise, many more opportunities for entrepreneurship are manifesting which is resulting in a more diverse and robust small to medium enterprise sector. 

pilbara business for transport

pilbara business for transport

The growth of the SME sector in the Pilbara will potentially foster greater collaboration and innovation, increase competition regionally, and provide new and diverse Pilbara employment opportunities. These new opportunities eventually lead to more remarkable economic growth within the region, which fosters even further opportunities down the line.

Pilbara mining, however, remains the leading industry and most significant economic contributor in the region. With unparalleled Pilbara minerals, the opportunities for new mining exploration projects are countless. Moreover, the Pilbara sits on the cusp of Asia, making access to Asian markets easier both physically, through major ports and airports, as well as business relationships and networks possible. The Pilbara truly is a globally recognised export hub.


Big Deals in the Pilbara

The Pilbara's economy is dominated by mining exports and the petroleum export industries. The mining industry sector is the greatest contributor to economic output in the Pilbara region. At $48.9 billion it accounts for 72.53% of total output. 

The Pilbara's economy is dominated by mining exports and the petroleum export industries. The mining industry sector is the predominant contributor to economic output in the Pilbara region. At $48.9 billion, it accounts for 72.53% of total output. 

It is also the largest employer, representing 45.66% of total employment within the region. That’s 29,151 jobs! Strong investment links with Asia mean that the Pilbara is globally recognised as an export hub through major airports and ports, as well as networks and business relationships. The Pilbara’s rich mineral resources are a key regional asset and attract business globally.

For global investors, there is a sense of achievement when partnering with the likes of Rio Tinto, FMG, BHP, or Woodside. It is not an easy process, and their standards are high. But once accepted, the opportunities are endless.

Deals are made every day between different mining groups, investors, and contractors. For example, in November 2019, Rio Tinto awarded Monadelphous group a $100 million contract for fixed plant maintenance services. The contract extended a 25-year working relationship between the two companies.

Pilbara mining companies frequently source contractors to complete work on the mine site. The jobs include modifying the existing plant and site, installing mechanical and electrical instrumentation, and providing mechanical and electrical maintenance. These contracts are worth a lot of money, and generally, the mining company will pick a contractor that they have a good working relationship with already. Big deals like these are made every day in the Pilbara, whether between foreign investors and mining giants or mining companies and contractors.


The Pilbara is Western Australia's second most northern region, defined by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Northern Territory border to the east. The Kimberley Region lies to its north across the Great Sandy Desert and the Pilbara's southern reaches border the Gascoyne, Mid West and Goldfields-Esperance regions. The region covers a total area of 507,896km² (including offshore islands)

Doing Business in the Pilbara

The Pilbara is Western Australia's second most northern region, defined by the Indian Ocean to the west and the Northern Territory border to the east. The Kimberley Region lies to its north across the Great Sandy Desert. The Pilbara's southern reaches border the Gascoyne, Mid West, and Goldfields-Esperance regions. The region covers a total area of 507,896km² (including offshore islands).

The population of the Pilbara is estimated to be 59,894 usual residents (2011 Census). Most of the inhabitants of the Pilbara are located in the western third of the region, whereas the eastern third is largely desert with few inhabitants. The Pilbara has four local government areas - the City of Karratha, Shires of Ashburton and East Pilbara, and the Town of Port Hedland. The major towns of the region are Port Hedland and Karratha. Other towns are Roebourne, Dampier, Onslow, Pannawonica, Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Wickham, Newman, Marble Bar, and Nullagine. 

When it comes to Pilbara business, the region is economically significant, both nationally and internationally. It is responsible for a major portion of the production, value, exports, and investments of extraction industries commodities, particularly iron ore and liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

In November 2009, the Western Australian Government announced The Pilbara Cities initiative, offering a clear mandate for investment in the Pilbara by committing to a $1.2 billion Pilbara Cities Vision formally enacted through legislation in December 2009. Early Pilbara projects led by this government catalyst have started a fundamental transformation of the look of the major townships.

Furthermore, extensive planning is now in place to deliver regional cities and major regional centres throughout the Pilbara. Besides the immense reserves of natural resources, tourism, agriculture, fishing, and aquaculture all feature prominently in the strengths and opportunities in the Region.




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