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Splinter group protests native title with WA mine site campout

Tom Zaunmayr -

A small Traditional Owner splinter group is protesting native title by attempting to blockade Roy Hill's iron ore mine in WA's Pilbara region.

Five people representing Wunna Nyiyaparli on Wednesday parked outside the gate to the mine site 270km south of Port Hedland where they have set up a temporary camp.

The protest is believed to be centred around a dispute over the 2018 Federal Court decision to grant native title to Nyiyaparli lands where Roy Hill and several other mines operate.

Karkla Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation is the registered native title body for the area representing common law holders.

An appeal by Wunna Nyiyaparli to this claim was dismissed by the Federal Court in 2017. Cases against Rio Tinto and Roy Hill have also been dismissed.

A Roy Hill spokesperson said safe access to the mine had been maintained through the protest.

"While the group's issue appears to be with a decision made by the Federal Court and not something Roy Hill is able to intervene in, staff from our mine have been ensuring the group have been provided with fresh food and water," they said.

"To ensure the safety of the group and our staff, Roy Hill is working with West Australia Police to facilitate the safe access of vehicles in and out of the mine site.

"Roy Hill is proud of the strong and trusting relationships we have built with all our Traditional Owner groups over a long period and remains committed to working in partnership to respectfully promote and protect this important connection."

Newman Police are present and Roy Hill staff are providing drinks and food for the protestors.

KNAC has been contacted for comment.

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