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Hancock Alpha Coal Pty Ltd & Birri Native Title Claim Group Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
|Date:||11 July 2011|
|Sub Category:||Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) (Native Title Act)|
|Location:||Galilee Basin, Central Queensland, Australia|
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|The area covered by this Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) is situated near the coast of central Queensland, southwest of Collinsville and northwest of Mackay. The ILUA area falls within the jurisdiction of the Whitsunday Regional Council. It does not include the land and waters contained within the Jangga People's native title determination, which was made by the Federal Court of Australia in proceeding QUD 6230 of 1998.|
|Legal Status:||Registered with the National Native Title Tribunal on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements on 11 July 2011. This is an authorised Area Agreement under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).|
|Legal Reference:||National Native Title Tribunal File No. QI2011/004|
|Subject Matter:||Future Act | Mining and Minerals | Native Title - Extinguishment|
|This Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) was agreed between the State of Queensland, Hancock Alpha Coal Pty Ltd and Grace Smallwood and others on their own behalf and on behalf of the Birri native title claim group. The purpose of this ILUA is to provide consent for a range of future acts related to a thermal coal mining and infrastructure project proposed by Hancock. The ILUA also provides for the surrender and extinguishment of native title in parts of the ILUA area under certain circumstances.|
|Content of this ILUA|
Pursuant to this agreement, Hancock is to notify the State of Queensland and the Birri native title claim group of the date on which it decides to proceed with the thermal coal mine project (see outline below), or of the date on which it decides not to proceed. Such notification must be given within 14 days of either of those decisions taking place.
This agreement may be terminated under the following circumstances:
The parties agree that the right to negotiate provisions in Subdivision P, Division 3, Part 2 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) will not apply to any of the future acts or the surrender of native title authorised by this agreement.
Consent to Future Acts
For the purposes of section 24EB(1)(b) of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and regulation 7(5) of the Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreement) Regulations 1999 (Cth), the parties agree to the doing of a range of future acts in the ILUA area.
First of all, they consent to the grant of all approvals to any person relating to an area that includes the ILUA area, if in Hancock's opinion such approvals are necessary or desirable for the construction, operation, use, maintenance, repair, further development, decommissioning or rehabilitation of its proposed coal mining and infrastructure project (see outline below).
Secondly, the parties give their consent to the undertaking of all activities authorised by a project approval and undertaken in the ILUA area.
Consent to Surrender and Extinguishment of Native Title
The parties also agree to the surrender of native title in the ILUA area under certain circumstances, where such a surrender is intended to extinguish native title rights and interests from the time when it occurs.
A surrender of native title may take place if Hancock seeks a project approval in relation to part of the ILUA area, and such an approval cannot be granted unless a surrender takes place. In such circumstances, a surrender will take effect immediately before the project approval is granted. If this occurs, Hancock must notify the Birri native title claim group, and it must also provide the State of Queensland with a copy of that notification.
Background to this ILUA
The Project: the Alpha Coal and Kevin's Corner Mines
This ILUA was signed in preparation for a proposed development by Hancock, which consists of two thermal coal mines known as the Alpha Coal Project and the Kevin's Corner Project. Both of these mines have an approximate production capacity of 30 megatonnes per annum over a lifespan of over 30 years.
The mines are to be accompanied by the following associated infrastructure and utilities, which will be developed both within and outside the ILUA area:
Native Title in the ILUA Area
The ILUA area falls within the Birri People's registered native title claim, which was filed with the Federal Court of Australia on 2 April 1998 as proceeding QUD6244/98. This claim covers approximately 14,901 square kilometres of land in Central Queensland. The claimants involved in this claim are ILUA signatories Grace Smallwood, Heather Tilberoo, Algon Walsh Jnr, Colin McLennan, David Miller and Frank Fisher.
The Birri People's claim remains active, but has not yet undergone mediation. In 2001, however, it moved closer towards mediation when public notices were issued, calling on landowners and other interest-holders affected by the claim to register for talks (see National Native Title Tribunal, 2001). These talks are intended to work towards reaching voluntary agreements that recognise all relevant rights and interests in the claim area.
The Birri People's native title claim is particularly affected by Hancock's coal mine and infrastructure project because the area to which it relates intersects with the proposed train route between Alpha and Abbot Point (Hancock Coal Pty Ltd, 2011). The ILUA between Hancock and the Birri People is one of a number of native title agreements relating to the Alpha Coal Project. Together, they make Hancock the only proponent in the Galilee Basin to posess native title agreements across mining, railway and port land (see media release, Hancock Coal Pty Ltd, June 2011).
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