18/07/2008 - 11:38

Native title win against FMG

18/07/2008 - 11:38

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Traditional owners in the Pilbara region are celebrating a win in the National Native Title Tribunal over Fortescue Metals Group Ltd after proving the company failed to negotiate in good faith over a tenement application.

Native title win against FMG

Traditional owners in the Pilbara region are celebrating a win in the National Native Title Tribunal over Fortescue Metals Group Ltd after proving the company failed to negotiate in good faith over a tenement application.

Members of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura native title claim group and the Wintawari Gurama Aboriginal Corporation said they had proved that the mining giant failed to fulfil its obligations under the Native Title Act 1993.

The win was over a proposed mining tenement application, 65 kilometres west of Tom Price encompassing 43 square kilometres of traditional land and waters.

The application straddles the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura 6500sq.km land and Wintawari Gurama's 6024sq.km of land.

Donna Meyer, Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Traditional Owner, said that the decision that was handed down was a hard fought battle, but that her community was ecstatic over the win.

"This is not only a win for our community, but for all Aboriginal people. We are constantly being pushed and pulled by the whims of mining companies and I feel this is not only a victory for our country and people but for our ancestors who handed us this land to take care of," said Ms Meyer.

Pilbara Native Title Service (PNTS), representatives of Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura native title claim group, said it was pleased that the group had stayed strong and successfully proved that FMG did not negotiate in good faith.

"I hope this win sends a message out to mining companies to come to the table in good faith and negotiate a fair outcome with the Traditional Owners of that country," said PNTS chairperson Doris Eaton.

FMG executive director Graeme Rowley told WA Business News the win by the traditional owners was for a very small part of the overall claim package.

Mr Rowley said that the native title claims looked like it was being "sliced and diced" into smaller applications and was not representative of the bigger picture.
He said the company believed it was one meeting away of wrapping up native title claims over the whole tenement package.

Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura native title claim group and Wintawari Gurama Aboriginal Corp said the next step was to meet with and begin negotiations towards an agreed outcome.

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