MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Native title not to be overlooked in WMC takeover

Published by MAC on 2005-04-05


Aboriginal resistance to the Roxby Downs mine started some years before it opened, during the 1970s when the first coordinated campaigns between Aboriginal Australian activsits and anti-nuclear lobbies in Britain resulted in protests at the BP annual general meeting (BP was then WMC's partner in the huge copper-uranium project, but later withdrew). Joan Wingfield, a representative of the Kokatha People flew to London to lead the demand for land rights - one which was peremptorily denied by Britain's largest company.

Native title not to be overlooked in WMC takeover

http://www.miningnews.net/StoryView.asp?StoryID=36797

David Satterthwaite

April 05, 2005

Democrat leader senator Lyn Allison has called on Canberra to not overlook native title claims in favour of big business in any WMC Resources takeover.

According to senator Allison, the Roxby Downs area in South Australia that houses the Olympic Dam mine has pending native title claims from the Bangarla and Kokatha peoples.

"Despite this, federal treasurer Peter Costello publicly backed a massive expansion of Olympic Dam and Xstrata's [and BHP Billiton's] takeover bid. The Government was quick to approve a foreign takeover, yet the fact the Roxby Downs land involved is still subject to a native title claim is not even being considered," senator Allison said.

The Democrats point to the court application by WMC Resources to bring the native title trial forward on the grounds of "commercial imperative" as evidence Aboriginal title claims are being steamrollered by business giants with Canberra standing on the sidelines.

"There is no way anyone would have enough time to properly prepare for trial or be in a position to negotiate with huge corporations on such short notice. The takeover bid is centred on financial implications while the indigenous claimants have been overlooked, as have the environmental implications of nuclear waste storage," said Allison.

"Any takeover of the mine with the intention of expanding should be based on the understanding that these claimants have significant rights and interests in this area which demand recognition, respect, and above all, a fair hearing."

The first hearing in the WMC Resources native title case will occur on 15 April 2005.


La resistencia aborigen a la mina Roxby Downs comenzó algunos años antes de su apertura, durante los 70', cuando las primeras campañas coordinadas de activistas aborígenes autralianos y los lobbies anti-nucleares en Inglaterra confluyeron en la reunión anual de BP (socio de WMC en el mega proyecto de cobre y uranio, que luego se retiró). Joan Wingfield, una representante de la comunidad Kokatha, viajó a Londres para liderar el reclamo sobre los derechos de la tierra que fueron negados por la más grande compañía inglesa.

Derechos nativos no deben dejarse de lado en la compra de WMC

Por David Satterthwaite

05 de Abril, 2005

La senadora demócrata Lyn Allison ha llamado a no dejar de lado los derechos de pueblos nativos en favor de grandes negocios, ante la compra de la compañía WMC Resources.

De acuerdo a la senadora Allison la región de Roxby Downs, en el sur de Australia, donde está emplazada la mina Olympic Dam, tiene pendientes reclamos de titularidad por parte de los pueblos originarios Bangarla y Kokatha.

"Sin importar esto, el tesorero federal Peter Costello apoyó públicamente una expansión masiva de la mina Olympic Dam, y las ofertas de compra de Xstrata y BHP Billiton. El gobierno ha sido rápido en aprobar la transferencia de WMC Resources a manos extranjeras, a pesar de que las tierras de Roxby Downs son objeto de reclamos de titularidad que ni siquiera son tenidos en cuenta" aseguró la senadora Allison.

La primera audiencia en el caso del reclamo de tierras aborígenes sobre WMC Resources será el 15 de abril.

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