CDE Capital, an indigenous-owned, Northern Territory based civil works contractor, has been named the country’s ‘Contract Miner of the Year’ at the fifth annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards. This news has come on the back of an awarded contract with Atlas Iron for its Pardoo DSO project.CDE Capital’s Managing Director, Robbie Rusca, said: “We see this as recognition that an indigenous-owned company can provide reliable professional services in this fiercely competitive sector – without compromising its commitment to indigenous opportunity.”The “Contract Miner of the Year” award was announced by Australian Mining magazine publisher, Reed Business Information. “CDE Capital has an outstanding passion for indigenous employment matched with a measurable service to clients,” Daniel Hall, Editor of Australian Mining, said.A panel of five judges selected CDE Capital from among five finalists, citing its ‘fantastic’ safety record and its ‘dedication’ to the employment and training of indigenous Australians as standout qualities. “CDE has proved that it is more than a contractor pushing to attain the large mine owners as clients. It is a family business which cares about each employee on an individual level, and as such has been able to secure large contracts based on its dedicated service and strong work ethic,” the judging panel said.CDE has become one of the country’s largest indigenous-owned contracting companies since it evolved from a family civil works business established by the Rusca family in the 1970s. With indigenous employees representing about 75% of its permanent workforce, the company aims to recruit at least 50% of its workforce in major projects from local communities.The company announced weeks ago that it has commenced work on a A$75 million mining contract – its largest to date – at Atlas Iron’s Pardoo project in the Pilbara. This four-year contract includes supplying the drilling, excavation and haulage services at the project, which is due to begin shipments of iron ore from Port Hedland early in December.The Pardoo contract also adds weight to CDE Capital’s current long-term consideration to possibly seek a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange. Rusca: “We are considering the possibility of an IPO when the market stabilises, either in the latter half of next year or early in 2010.”Exports of direct shipping ore from Pardoo are expected to begin early in December at an initial rate of 1 Mt/y, rising to 3 Mt/y after the first year. With additional tonnages from its neighbouring Abydos project, Atlas is targeting exports of 6 Mt/y by 2010 and 12 Mt/y by 2012.The company is also involved in a number of other major mining projects, including civil works and equipment hire at CopperCo’s Lady Annie Mine in Queensland and plant operation and training at Xstrata’s McArthur River zinc mine in the Northern Territory.