After many years of negotiation, finally a positive outcome: mining giant BHP Billiton has signed a new native title agreement with the Banjima People in Western Australia.
The new landmark agreement covers an area of 8263 square kilometres and includes a number of the Company’s Pilbara-based iron ore operations and most of the Banjima Native Title determination area.
According to the media release to Australian Resources, the agreement is seen as one of “the most significant of its kind in Australia” and highlights the Company’s transparent and unique approach to engaging Indigenous communities.
“BHP Billiton and the Banjima People have carefully considered all of the terms of this agreement over many years to ensure it would provide real and lasting benefits to both parties,” said BHP Billiton Iron Ore President, Jimmy Wilson.
“I am incredibly proud that we have secured an agreement that reflects our approach of developing true partnerships with Indigenous communities. It moves us away from transaction-based engagement to an ongoing and open relationship that will span generations to come. With a life of more than 100 years, it provides long-term certainty for both BHP Billiton, in terms of our current operations and potential future developments, and the Banjima People, with regards to how we will respect and treat their land.”
Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC Chairperson, Slim Parker, said that the Agreement provides the Banjima People with a great opportunity “to build a fantastic future through programs and projects.”
“The Banjima People are privileged to be at the forefront of a future that can truly be fabulous in all areas of our lives. Change is the name of the game if we the Banjima People are to build prosperity through self-determination. This will enable sustainability of our law and culture for future generations to come,” said Mr Parker.
“This agreement between BHP Billiton and the Banjima People is a great achievement for all parties involved. It shows that mining and Traditional Owners can co-exist if parties are willing to listen and work co-operatively,” said Simon Hawkins, CEO of Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation – the native title representative body for the Pilbara region.