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Weld Range Wajarri Yamatji Exploration Agreement

Category: Agreement
Date: 19 April 2006
Sub Category:Land Use Agreement
Location:Weld Ranges, Western Australia, Australia
The Weld Ranges are situated about 65 km southwest of Meekatharra, in the Midwest region of Western Australia. The Ranges span for about 60 km and are believed to hold about 130 million tonnes of iron ore (NNTT 2006, 5).
Alternative Names:
  • Agreement between the Wajarri Yamatji Native Title Claim Group and Midwest Corporation Ltd
  • Weld Range Exploration Access Agreement
  • Weld Range Exploration and Heritage Agreement
  • Summary Information:
    The Weld Range Wajarri Yamatji Exploration Agreement ('the Agreement') was signed by the Wajarri Yamatji Native Title Claim Group and Midwest Corporation Limited ('Midwest') on 19 April 2006.

    The Agreement enables exploration for iron ore in the Weld Ranges by Midwest while protecting culturally significant sites through the use of exclusion zones. It is said to be one of the 'most comprehensive land access agreements' in Australia and is 'an example of best practice in native title exploration agreements' (Yamatji Land and Sea Council 2006). The Agreement relates only to exploration issues - mining is to be dealt with separately (Savage and Dennison 2006, 34).
    Detailed Information:
    Avoidance areas

    The Weld Ranges contain a number of sites of exceptional cultural significance for traditional owners (Yamatji Land and Sea Council 2006).

    Under the Agreement, Midwest has agreed to refrain from any activity within Avoidance Areas. The Avoidance Areas include all indigenous sites registered with the Western Australian Department of Indigenous Affairs as at commencement and other Avoidance Areas agreed to after completion of heritage surveys (Savage and Dennison 2006, 34). In particular, the Agreement also protects an ancient ochre mine, Wilgie Mia, from any exploration or mining by Midwest. Wajarri people have traded ochre from Wilgie Mia for centuries (NNTT 2006, 5; Yamatji Land and Sea Council 2006).

    Access and use by traditional owners

    The Agreement allows continued access by traditional owners to the area, subject to safety issues. It also enables traditional owners to continue removing ochre from Wilgie Mia (Yamatji Land and Sea Council 2006).

    Financial Package

    The Agreement includes a financial package consisting of funds for training and education strategies, funds for compensation and a share issue to the Wajarri Yamatji group (Dennison and Savage 2006, 35; Yamatji Land and Sea Council 2006). This means that Midwest will have some accountability to its Wajarri Yamatji shareholders (Yamatji Land and Sea Council 2006).

    Monitoring

    The Agreement will be overseen by a monitoring and liaison committee and a liaison officer and Aboriginal monitors will monitor any ground disturbing operations (Savage and Dennison 2006, 34-35; Yamatji Land and Sea Council 2006).

    Negotiations

    The Wajarri Yamatji Native Title Claim Group was assisted by the Yamatji Land and Sea Council during negotiations.

    At the time of negotiations, Midwest held four granted tenements (one exploration licence, two mining leases and one temporary reserve) and five ungranted tenements (four exploration licences and one mining licence) (Savage and Dennison 2006, 17-18).
    Outcomes:
    Midwest issued 100,000 shares to the Wajarri Peoples Trust on 21 July 2006, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement (Midwest Annual Report 2006, 58).

    Related Entries

    Organisation
  • Yamatji Marlpa Barna Baba Maaja Land and Sea Council
  • Midwest Corporation Limited - Signatory
  • Wajarri Yamatji Native Title Claim Group - Signatory

  • References

    Media Release
    Yamatji Land and Sea Council (19 April 2006) Leading Land Access Agreement Signed
    Yamatji Land and Sea Council and Midwest Corporation Limited (5 April 2006) Land Access Agreement Paves Way for Iron Ore Exploration by Midwest Corporation
    Newspaper Article
    Paige Taylor (28 January 2006) Modern iron age closes in on ancient ochre mine in The Australian
    Resource
    National Native Title Tribunal (June 2006, Issue 19) 'Land access agreement saves ancient ochre' in Talking Native Title
    Raina Savage and Amy Dennison (2006) Your Mine or Mine? Striking the balance between development and culture
    Midwest Corporation Limited (2007) Annual Report 2006

    Glossary

    Land Use Agreement (Australia)

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