Aborigines oppose Yakabindie nickel mine

Wednesday, September 25, 1991

Aborigines oppose Yakabindie nickel mine

By Leon Harrison

PERTH — The WA Labor government has declared its intention to allow the development of the Yakabindie nickel mining project at Wiluna, despite opposition from the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land.

The Ngalia Aboriginal people claim that the mine would destroy their sacred sites. Their claims are supported by a report prepared by the University of Western Australia's Centre for Pre-history

The report states that there are more than 50 sacred sites in the area. Jones Creek, a watercourse within the proposed mine site, "was of extreme importance to Aborigines and to a legend relating to sacred sites in the area".

Both the federal and state governments have preferred to accept company anthropologist Rory O'Connor's claim that there are only two sites of cultural significance to Aboriginal people that would be affected by the mine.

Federal Aboriginal affairs minister Robert Tickner has given his support to the mining project. WA Premier Carmen Lawrence has declared her willingness to amend land rights legislation in order for it to go ahead. "If an agreement cannot be reached within a month then the government will force a resolution", she stated.

"Any attempt to block Yakabindie would be nothing less than economic sabotage", WA Deputy Premier Ian Taylor declared.

The determination of the Lawrence government do the mining bosses' bidding shows that its "commitment" to Aboriginal land rights is purely verbal.

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