The Yinhawangka People of the Pilbara region of Western Australia have announced a major agreement with Rio Tinto.
The Yinhawangka People are the native title claimants and traditional custodians of approximately one million hectares of land and waters in the central Pilbara, including the mining town of Paraburdoo. The agreement covers Rio Tinto’s existing, current and future iron ore mining operations within Yinhawangka country and, importantly, establishes protocols for the protection of homeland communities and areas of special significance. This includes the exclusion of an area of outstanding cultural significance to the Yinhawangka People.
It provides a range of economic and non-economic benefits for the Yinhawangka People, including significant financial benefits from mining on their traditional country; special treatment of areas of high cultural significance; employment and training opportunities; support for Pilbara Aboriginal business development and contracting; and a collaborative approach to environmental and cultural heritage management.
Yinhawangka Traditional Owner, Darren Injie, said it had taken over twenty years of hard work for the Yinhawangka People to establish their homeland communities and reach today’s milestone.
“I want to acknowledge a lot of important people whose leadership contributed to this agreement, and who are no longer with us today. This wasn’t the work of one or two people, it’s been a community effort. I also thank Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation; we would not have an agreement with this kind of scope and integrity without their ongoing support.”