Australia: Miner Northern Minerals strikes Browns Range deal with traditional owners

Date of publication: 
17 June 2014

Traditional landowners in the Kimberley say they are satisfied environmental, cultural and heritage values will be protected if Northern Minerals begins mining at the Browns Range.

The miner has struck a deal with traditional owners group KRED to mine rare earths about 180 kilometres south of Halls Creek.

KRED CEO Wayne Bergman says the deal includes employment and financial benefits to the Jaru Aboriginal families of the central Kimberley.

He says he is not concerned about radiation in the range.

“The radiation levels will be below national standards,” he said.

“Everyone was pretty confident that this project in a very remote area can be managed well.

“Jaru is a desert group, so making sure environmental and water practices are the best is culturally fundamental to traditional owners in this area.”

Mr Bergman says although he will not put a dollar figure on the agreement, it will offer more than just royalty payments.

“The agreement provides employment obligations and targets, contracting and business opportunities,” he said.

“It also provides a compensation package.

“A contribution of the compensation package will go into a regional bucket to benefit a wider group of Aboriginal people across the Kimberley.”

If Northern Minerals decides to proceed, construction of the mine could begin next year.