Jobs Events Advertise

High Court backs Traditional Owners over mine project

Neve Brissenden -

Native title holders in the Northern Territory have won a High Court appeal preserving their rights over a development for a major lead and zinc mine.

Traditional Owners from the Gulf of Carpentaria region have won a High Court appeal preventing a mining giant expanding onto Aboriginal land without having their say.

In 2013 Glencore applied for a mineral lease for the McArthur River mining project, with plans to build a facility on land to deposit sediment dredged from shallow gulf waters to allow bulk-carrier vessels to ship the mine's ore.

Though Glencore owns the pastoral lease for the land, it is subject to native title.

The Northern Land Council and two native title holders have successfully upheld their freeholder and procedural rights to negotiate under the Native Title Act, forcing the company to come to the table and work on an agreement with them.

The High Court on Wednesday unanimously overturned a Federal Court judgment that the new infrastructure facility was too "remote" from mining and could not be regarded as "necessary for the meaningful exercise of the right to mine".

High Court justices Stephen Gageler, Michelle Gordon, Simon Steward and Jacqueline Gleeson ruled the granting of the mineral lease would be a "right to mine" under the Mineral Titles Act.

Also an infrastructure facility was covered by the Native Title Act and the appellants were entitled to their rights under that legislation.

Glencore general manager Mark Furlotte said the company respects the High Court decision.

"McArthur River Mine continues to be engaged in discussions with the traditional owners and with the Northern Land Council in relation to the land which is the subject of the decision of the High Court and other matters," he said in a statement.

The McArthur River Mine was established in 1992 and is one of the world's largest deposits of zinc and lead.

The mine, almost 750km southeast of Darwin, has been dogged by environmental incidents and claims sacred Indigenous sites face irreversible cultural and ecological damage from its operation.

Last year traditional owners went to the Federal Court seeking "no less than" $225 million in compensation for environmental and cultural damage from the mining operations.

The court will hand down a decision by December.

Neve Brissenden - AAP

   Related   

CSIRO grant helps blend Aboriginal traditions with agricultural innovation
In a fusion of Indigenous wisdom and cutting-edge technology, Darryl Lyons, a respected Maiawali man, and inventor Mic Bla...
Zak Kirkup 1 Mar 2024
Rolfe to wrap up evidence in Walker death inquest
An inquest into the death of an Indigenous teenager is set to wrap up after 18 months as evidence from the police officer who sh...
Neve Brissenden 1 Mar 2024
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation strikes deal for "equal footing in future decision-making" over Murujuga country
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation has defined a new approach to agreement making in Australia, following the signing Thursday of a...
Giovanni Torre 1 Mar 2024
Court finds Youpla misrepresented itself as an Aboriginal-owned or managed company
The collapsed funeral fund Youpla misrepresented itself as Aboriginal owned or managed, the full Federal Court ruled on Thursday...
Dechlan Brennan 29 Feb 2024

   Neve Brissenden   

Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation strikes deal for "equal footing in future decision-making" over Murujuga country
Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation has defined a new approach to agreement making in Australia, following the signing Thursday of a...
Giovanni Torre 1 Mar 2024
Funding boost expands Junior Ranger program to 50 new sites
The Federal government announced on Thursday that it is expanding the Junior Ranger program, offering on-Country learning to Abo...
Giovanni Torre 29 Feb 2024
Man charged with murder of young Indigenous woman in Kununurra
A young woman who was attacked in Kununurra last September has died, leading WA Police to upgrade charges against her alleged as...
Giovanni Torre 29 Feb 2024
Lawyers representing family of Ms Dhu to meet with WA government over compensation
Lawyers representing the estate of the late Julieka Dhu, who died in police custody in 2014, will be in Perth from next Wednesda...
Giovanni Torre 29 Feb 2024