MAC: Mines and Communities

Australia: Indigenous group 'joyous' over Native Title claim win

Published by MAC on 2013-09-01
Source: Mining Australia (2013-08-29)

Greens MP Robin Chapple: "It is abject nonsense that some turkey could come along and actually put in an application to mine what is one of the most significant areas on the Burrup, when it's covered by the national heritage listing."

Indigenous group ‘joyous' over Native Title claim win

Vicky Validakis

Mining Australia

29 August 2013 

The Banjima people of Western Australia's Pilbara region have won a Native Title claim covering over 10,000sqkm after a 15-year court battle.

The Native Title claim was brought to an end yesterday when a Federal Court handed down its decision to award the rights of the land to the Banjima people.

The claim was first lodged in 1998 and covers an area from Tom Price in the west of the state, and extending to towards to the town of Newman in the east, The West Australian reported.

The land rights will co-exist with iron ore mining operations held by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Hancock Prospecting and Fortescue Metals Group.

It is expected the decision will not affect the rights of mining tenements or pastoral leases that have already been granted, but will change the negotiation process with the region's miners.

Banjima elder Alec Tucker described the judgment as a "joyous day".

"We've been looking forward to this for a long time," Tucker said.

"We know it's Banjima country. It's my grandfather's country, my father's country. I think the old people would be happy about today."

Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Simon Hawkins said it was disappointing the group had been forced into a trial.

"The State Government needs to stop waging expensive legal battles and take a more collaborative approach," he said.

Hawkins said he hoped the decision would mean other Native Title claims in the region could be resolved by consent.


Miner defends proposal to mine on heritage land

Malavika Santhebennur

Mining Australia

29 August, 2013

Barrup Materials lodged an application with the Department of Mines and Petroleum to get three licenses and a mining lease on the Burrup Peninsula.

Burrup is hoping to mine rock for the proposed Dampier Marina.

Much of the land the company proposes to mine is national heritage listed. The Barrup Peninsula is full of Aboriginal rock art.

Greens MP Robin Chapple said he is surprised the company filed an application at all, the ABC reported.

"It's not only a joke that it has got this far, but it shows a complete lack of sensitivity or even basic analysis by the proponent in this case that they could consider going here," Chapple said.

"It is abject nonsense that some turkey could come along and actually put in an application to mine what is one of the most significant areas on the Burrup, when it's covered by the national heritage listing."

But Burrup director Leon Kurt Mauritz said mining the rock near the marina site is economical, according to the ABC.

He added he wishes to talk to local Indigenous groups about the proposal.

"We will be subject to all of the laws, both state and federal, with regard to the rights and interests of the Indigenous people.

"It is a criminal offence to disturb those Aboriginal artefacts, so I won't be doing anything, until all the boxes are ticked. People are jumping to conclusions.

"I hope to establish a rock art museum on the site, I see this as an opportunity to centralise some of that rock art and protect it from the elements, protect it from theft and from vandalism, so that future generations can come and look at it, study it, enjoy it," he said.

The mines department said it will not grant an application that could be destructive to Indigenous rock art.

If the proposal does get accepted, it would have to operate in accordance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

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