The Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation (BBAC), on behalf of the Barada Barna people, have entered into a Native Title Project Agreement with BHP Mitsui Coal Pty Ltd (BMC) for the South Walker Creek Mine in central Queensland, Australia.
It is the first agreement of its kind between Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation and BMC, and is structured to deliver immediate and intergenerational benefits to the Barada Barna people, according to BHP.
The agreement will, BHP says, provide mutual benefits and certainty for BMC and Barada Barna.
Financial benefits will be directed towards priority community projects that enable Barada Barna people to live and work on-country, strengthening their important connection. The agreement also delivers ongoing financial security for socio-economic purposes and non-financial contributions in the form of contracting, business, employment, education and training opportunities for Barada Barna people.
The agreement will also support for the ongoing development and operation of South Walker Creek Mine – including a framework for the parties to work together on cultural heritage management and protecting areas of cultural and environmental significance.
Barada Barna Aboriginal Corp Chairperson, Luarna Walsh, said the agreement will ensure lasting and sustainable benefits for the Barada Barna people.
“The agreement will not only provide long-term benefits for the Barada Barna community, it will also achieve projects that BBAC have had in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time.
“Importantly, it sets Barada Barna on a path of self-determination. It will ensure BBAC is sustainable into the future and help our next generation of descendants achieve their goals through schooling and university, and employment and training. This agreement also provides BBAC with the ability to diversify our income streams, by creating Traditional Owner business’ that can tender for a variety of contracts on country.
“I’m very proud to have been involved in this negotiation alongside fellow Barada Barna Directors, and, after tough and sometimes testing negotiations, to say we have reached a successful outcome.”
BMC Asset President, Elsabe Muller, said the agreement sets out the long-term partnership with the Barada Barna people.
“We’re looking forward to continue working with the Barada Barna people and contributing to their communities benefitting from sustainable economic, social and cultural initiatives,” Muller said.
“The agreement outlines a path forward for a long-term relationship based on trust, respect and mutual benefit. It will also see BMC and Barada Barna work together in relation to the management of cultural heritage at South Walker Creek and deepen our workforces’ knowledge and understanding of Barada Barna history and connection to country through cultural awareness training.”
The Barada Barna people are the native title holders (determined in September 2016) over approximately 3,000 sq.km of land in central Queensland, where BMC’s South Walker Creek open-pit mine is located.