WA Aborigines oppose mine

Issue 

WA Aborigines oppose mine

By Leon Harrison

PERTH — Aboriginal people in the Eastern Goldfields area are opposing the proposed Yakabindie Nickel Project, a Dominion Mining operation approved by the state in 1990.

Approval for the mine followed a report by anthropologist Rory O'Connor which claimed to identify only two Aboriginal sites of cultural significance in the area. This was accepted by the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee, which assesses sacred site claims and advises the minister for Aboriginal affairs.

But the Ngalia Heritage Research Council, representing local Aboriginal groups, rejected the O'Connor report following a petition signed by 139 Aboriginal people.

A second report commissioned by Dominion Mining recorded more than 50 sites of cultural significance. The contents of this report were not made public until part of it was leaked in July.

The WA government insists the mine will go ahead, and deputy premier Ian Taylor has called the NHRC's objections "nothing less than economic sabotage". Premier Carmen Lawrence has said she will consider amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act to remove obstacles to "these or other developments".

Aboriginal Legal Service officer Rob Riley has denied claims by the government and the Kalgoorlie mayor that the group has been promoting confrontation and making unreasonable demands of mining companies.

Senator Jo Vallentine has urged environment minister Bob Pearce to reconsider the project and called on federal Aboriginal affairs minister Robert Tickner to intervene.

Donations to the Sacred Site Fund may be sent c/- Fringedwellers of the Swan Valley, PO Guildford WA or direct to Commonwealth Bank (Guildford Branch) Sacred Site Fund account 6109606230.

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