An Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) signed between Martu and Reward Minerals Ltd, enables potash mining on strictly limited parts of Lake Disappointment in exchange for job and contracting opportunities, strong cultural and heritage protections and part ownership of Reward Minerals Ltd.
WDLAC Deputy Chairman Brian Samson said the agreement allowed for high level Indigenous engagement, which includes a Martu-nominated board appointee.
“This agreement commits both parties to a range of business, employment and cultural initiatives,” Mr Samson said.
“By providing for job training, contracting opportunities and ongoing direct employment, this agreement will ensure Martu People have a strong stake in the future of the development.
“Martu have also negotiated for part ownership of Reward Minerals and a seat on the board of directors, which gives our people long-term financial security and a meaningful role in the executive decision making process.”
Mr Samson said rigorous heritage protections were a major focus of negotiations, with the Lake Disappointment area home to a number of highly sensitive cultural sites.
“In 2009 the National Native Title Tribunal ‘NNTT’ recognised our exclusive native title rights over the Lake Disappointment region by denying a mining lease application to Holocene Pty Ltd in a historic decision for traditional owner groups across Australia.
“Through recent negotiations, Martu have protected our sensitive cultural sites at Lake Disappointment by identifying a number of exclusion areas where no industrial activity is permitted.
“Martu have also secured employment for a permanent heritage officer to ensure our cultural concerns are appropriately managed, as well as long-term financial support for cultural practices.”
WDLAC CEO Noel Whitehead described the agreement as a historic achievement for Martu People.
“Never before have Martu People been able to negotiate for such strong terms over the life of a project,” Mr Whitehead said.
“Above any financial compensation, itâ€™s the ongoing employment, training and contracting opportunities that will ensure this development delivers long-term economic opportunity to Martu.
“The ability for Martu to genuinely inform the development through a seat on the board of directors, coupled with strict cultural protections, is a big step forward for Indigenous economic engagement in the Pilbara.”