MMG Century has congratulated the Waanyi people following a Federal Court determination yesterday recognising the native title rights of the Waanyi traditional owners.
Almost 200 Waanyi people were present when the native title determination over 1,730,018 hectares in north-west Queensland was handed down at Century’s Lawn Hill mine site.
Century General Manager Karl Spaleck said that the Waanyi people, who have close ties to the mine, had requested that the determination hearing be held at the Lawn Hill site.
“We have a long history of working closely and productively with the Waanyi people, and we were honoured to have been asked to host this historic occasion.
Mr Spaleck said that Century had always supported the Waanyi people’s application for formal recognition as Traditional Owners of this land.
“We have long supported this application and are pleased that the determination formally acknowledges the rights of the Waanyi people over their traditional lands.
“We must also acknowledge the tireless efforts of the Waanyi people – those who were present for the determination yesterday and those who could not be there – for their perseverance and commitment during this long journey.”
Mr Spaleck said that Century would continue to work to closely and productively with the Waanyi people.
“Century operates under the unique Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA), of which the Waanyi people are one four signatory Native Title Groups along with the mine and Queensland Government.
“We will continue to work in accordance with this Agreement, which provides extensive employment, training and business opportunities, compensation and cultural and environmental assurances for the people of the Gulf, including the Waanyi people. “
The determination covers about 1,730,081 hectares of land in Queensland’s north west, from Gregory Downs through to Nicholson River, then to O’Shannassy River and across to the Queensland/Northern Territory border.
The determination also recognised the Waanyi people’s exclusive rights and interests over 81 hectares of deed of grant in trust land, which was transferred to the Bidunggu Aboriginal Land Trust under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (Justice, Land and Other Matters) Act 1984 in September 1994.