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Renewal Mining Agreement between Groote Eylandt Mining Company and Anindilyakwa Land Council
|Date:||16 September 2006|
|Sub Category:||Mining Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act)|
|Location:||Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, Australia|
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|The agreement relates to 9 mineral leases totalling 8,466 hectares on the western side of Groote Eyelandt in the Northern Territory.|
|Subject Matter:||Employment and Training | Mining and Minerals|
|An agreement to renew the nine mining leases held by Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) in Groote Eylandt was signed by Mr Lucas Dow, the General Manager of GEMCO, and leaders of the Anindilyakwa Land Council, on behalf of the Traditional Owners, on 16 September 2006.|
The agreement provides that GEMCO can mine on Groote Eylandt for a further 25 years. Under the terms of the agreement, GEMCO also agrees to increase the number of Aboriginal people in its workforce (see ABC News Online, 2006).
Aboriginal Land Rights
GEMCO was awarded mining leases on the Groote Eyelandt in the 1960s, prior to the commencement of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (NT). There was therefore no requirement at this time for the company to consult or come to an agreement with the local Aboriginal people before the commencement of mining (ABC News, 2006). Groote Eyelandt became Aboriginal freehold land in 1976, pursuant to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (NT), with land to be held by the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust.
The relevant mining leases
GEMCO operates 9 mineral leases (being leases 951-953 and 956-961) on the western side of Groote Eyelandt. These leases came up for renewal in 2006.
Contents of the agreement
The agreement provides GEMCO the right to a continuous mining operation on Groote Eyelandt. It also provides for the following:
The agreement makes financial benefits payable to the Aboriginal Community. Ross Hebblewhite, a spokesperson for the Anindilyakwa Land Council, has said that money from the agreement will allow the Land Council to invest in educational scholarships and medical costs (see ABC News Online, 2006).
As part of the agreement GEMCO has agreed to provide as many employment and contracting opportunities to Aboriginal people as is practicable. GEMCO have stated that their principal focus for the 2007 financial year is to engage 57 Aboriginal employees within their workforce (Aninidilyakwa 2006, 23). At the time of signing, 48 of GEMCO's 250 employees were aboriginal (ABC News Online, 2006).
GEMCO has also agreed to encourage their contractors and sub-contractors to provide similar employment opportunities.
Employment of Mining Officer
Pursuant to the agreement, the Anindilyakwa Land Council have employed a Mining Officer whose responsibilities will be to ensure GEMCO's compliance with the mining agreement, as well as the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (NT) and mining legislation (Aninidilyakwa 2006, 23).
The agreement also addresses other concerns of the traditional owners, including:
- water quality
- rehabilitation of the environment
- management of indigenous employees.
|ABC News Online (16 September 2006) GEMCO, land council to sign agreement|
|GEMCO (16 September 2006) Renewal Mining Agreement signed|
|Nicolas Rothwell (25 November 2006) Blueprint for better future|
|Nicolas Rothwell (25 November 2006) Blueprint for Better Future|
|Anindilyakwa Land Council Annual Report 2006-2007|
|MJD Foundation Groote Eylandt|
|Traditional Owner Group (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)) (Australia)|
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