The Waanyi people have successfully bargained a landmark contract with New Century Resources.
Hundreds of people converged on traditional Waanyi land last month to fight for better traditional recognition at mining sites in north west Queensland.
The mining company has brokered an historic cultural management deal at its Century zinc mine to the Waanyi Downer Joint Venture (WDJV).
The life of mine contract will provide services for the mining of East Fault Block and South Block Resources immediately adjacent to the Century open pit mine.
The JV has been called an “industry first” and will allow for proper recognition of Indigenous cultural heritage.
Depending on the outcome of a feasibility study, the agreement will allow for development of the South Block and East Fault Block Resources.
Works will include waste removal, equipment maintenance, drilling services and mine management.
The mining services contract will complement another promise to provide local Aboriginal people with training.
Waanyi PBC chairman Alec Doomadgee said the agreement “genuinely recognises” the significant value of Indigenous people.
“This could only happen with our trusted JV partner in Downer, where we have a genuine relationship built on enduring mutual respect. Our ability to engage in real economic development through the Waanyi Downer JV will contribute significantly to a model of self-determination for the Waanyi People,” Mr Doomadgee said.
“This is what Aboriginal self determination and independence looks like, as we now have genuine pathways for our people to become self sufficient and to determine their own future. We are training tomorrow's leaders of the Gulf on our own land, and I look forward to watching them grow to become masters of their own future,” he said.
The joint venture is chaired by Warren Mundine, the former Head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.
“The Waanyi people are central to this. The focus has always been, and must remain that the operation is on Waanyi country and must benefit the Waanyi People,” Mr Mundine said.
“This is why this arrangement has been so successful to date, and will continue to be, because of this focus.”
Mr Mundine is not a Waanyi Traditional Owner, he hails from Bundjalung country on the northern coast of New South Wales.
The North West Star has contacted local Traditional Owners for comment.