Jobs Events Advertise Newsletter

Indigenous trust continues talks with BHP after millions in royalties reevaluated

David Prestipino -

One of Western Australia's biggest Indigenous charitable trusts is confident it won't have to reimburse millions of dollars to BHP as the miner reevaluates its royalty payments after realising it had overpaid the organisation.

IBN Charitable Foundation is paid royalties from BHP's production at its Mining Area C (MAC) operation in the Pilbara, on behalf of three traditional owner groups, the Yinhawangka, Banjima and Nyiyaparli people.

IBN co-chair, Jeff Parnell, told National Indigenous Times the organisation and BHP had ongoing discussions over the past three years regarding the issue and he wasn't concerned at the potential to reimburse any funds.

The issue arose three years after BHP commenced production at its giant South Flank mine, adjacent to MAC, which is not part of the IBN agreement but falls within the broader Banjima native title determination.

However, royalty payments were made to IBN as the claim border runs through part of its mining pit, with MAC on one side and South Flank on the other.

Mr Parnell stressed to National Indigenous Times reimbursement requirements may not eventuate and, if they did, could gradually be paid over the decades-long period of the agreement between BHP and IBN, with little impact on his members.

Last year IBN was paid $47m in mining royalties but confirmed in its annual report last October that BHP had determined the payments were too large over an extended period, as the South Flank mine expands beyond the IBN determination area.

National Indigenous Times understands BHP is working with IBN and the representatives of the three Traditional Owner groups before determining whether it will seek reimbursement of those funds.

"BHP have notified IBN that they believe they have overpaid production payments under the MAC Agreement to IBN over a number of years," IBN said in its report.

"However at the date of this report, BHP have not been able to finalise the calculation of this amount or decided whether they will indeed seek to recover the funds."

BHP's WA Iron Ore business had underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of $US21.8 billion for the financial year ending 2022, and $US16.7b for the YE 2023.

Royalty payments to IBN from BHP were nearly $47m in each of the past two financial years under the MAC agreement, an increase from $26m in FY21 and $9.4m in FY20.

According to Business News, IBN's total assets have grown to $211m, making it one of the largest indigenous charitable trusts in WA.

The current dispute follows a renegotiation of the original royalties agreement between IBN and BHP in the 2010s.

At the time, BHP said beneficiaries were not satisfied with IBN's structure, while IBN's then chairperson Lorraine Injie said it faced "the continuing threat of litigation from BHP", the publication said.


Barry Cable charged with historical sex crimes against underaged girl
Western Australian police have charged disgraced former North Melbourne and WAFL...
Dechlan Brennan 24 May 2024
Victorian Police Chief Commissioner makes "long overdue" apology for police role in Stolen Generations
Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton has made a personal apology, and...
Jarred Cross 24 May 2024
Anniversary of the killing of Noongar leader Midgegooroo acknowledged by the City of Fremantle
The City of Fremantle lowered flags to half-mast this week as part of its truth-...
Rhiannon Clarke 24 May 2024
Pacific graduate beats the odds and earns her master's degree
Veronika Ruby Iloilo, a Masters graduate from the University of Auckland, turned...
Joseph Guenzler 24 May 2024

   David Prestipino   

BHP contributes $825k to on Country ear and hearing program
Indigenous families living in the East Pilbara will receive vital ear and hearin...
David Prestipino 20 May 2024
Indigenous snub could derail Australia's race to be a clean energy superpower
The Albanese government's third federal budget has been met with cynicism from c...
David Prestipino 16 May 2024
First Nations energy exclusion hurts Australia's global emission target
Look, we get it. $19.7 billion over 10 years to kickstart the clean energy tran...
Karrina Nolan 16 May 2024
2024 Federal Budget: Mixed reactions to 'a confetti shower of inadequate, piecemeal funding'
The Albanese Government's third Federal Budget has been met with cynicism from a...
David Prestipino 15 May 2024