Modern Australia remains profoundly shaped by the violent dispossession of Indigenous people. Denying this history serves a real and material purpose for very powerful interests, argues Sam Wainwright.
The recent destruction of a major cultural heritage site, Juukan Gorge in Western Australia, was undertaken in the name of Rio Tinto shareholders' profit, writes Samuel Knight.
Mining company Rio Tinto has been fined only $50,000 over the collapse of a dam wall at its Mount Thorley Warkworth mine last year.
It is estimated that up to 4 megalitres of sediment-laden rainwater flowed into the Wallaby Scrub Road reserve from the dam. The company blamed the collapse on several days of continuous rain, which softened the dam’s earth wall. However the court found the event was not a major storm but "merely what is regarded as a one-in-two-year rain event".
On July 20 last year Wonnarua Elders Kevin Taggart and Patricia Hansson were part of a small group of Bulga residents protesting plans by Rio Tinto to close Wallaby Scrub Road as part of its expansion of the Warkworth mine.
Police arrived and arrested the only two Aboriginal people present.
About 50 Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members and supporters occupied the foyer of the Brisbane offices of Rio Tinto on March 28.
Rio Tinto has reneged on its agreement with the MUA to have 70–80% Australian crew on its coastal fleet. Instead it is using exploited foreign workers who are paid $3–4 per hour. This is despite posting a $6 billion profit last year.
About 2500 workers have been on strike since February 9 at the Escondida mine in Chile’s north.
Owned by two Anglo-Australian mining giants, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Escondida is the largest producer of “red gold” in the world. The mine extracts about 900,000 tonnes a year. This represents 20% of copper production in Chile, the country with the largest copper reserves in the world.