Banjima people sign agreement with BHP
The Banjima people signed an historic new native title agreement with BHP Billiton last week.
The BHP Billiton Banjima Comprehensive Agreement covers an area of 8263sqkm and includes a number of the company’s Pilbara-based iron ore operations and most of the Banjima Native Title determination area.
Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation chairman Slim Parker said through the agreement, the Banjima People had a great opportunity to build a prosperous future through programs and projects.
“We are in the midst of a period of great change,” he said.
“Change is the name of the game if we the Banjima people are to build prosperity through self-determination. The Banjima People are privileged to be at the forefront of a future that can truly be fabulous in all areas of our lives.
“This will enable sustainability of our law and culture for future generations to come.”
BHP Billiton Iron Ore president Jimmy Wilson said the agreement was believed to be one of the most significant of its kind in Australia.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“I am incredibly proud that we have secured an agreement that reflects our approach of developing true partnerships with indigenous communities.”
Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, the native title representative body for the Pilbara region, said the agreement was a positive outcome after many years of negotiation.
YMAC chief executive Simon Hawkins said it demonstrated mining and traditional owners could co-exist if parties were willing to listen and work co-operatively.
The area of the BHP Billiton Banjima Comprehensive Agreement includes Mining Area C, Yandi, Munjina, Upper Marillana, Ministers North, parts of Mudlark, Roy Hill and Marillana.
Maitland Parker, Jimmy Wilson (BHP) and Slim Parker after signing a historic new native title agreement.