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NLC welcomes decision on Bootu Creek

Posted: Fri, August 02, 2013

DESTRUCTION: Collapse of the rock feature of the sacred site is evident. Picture: Courtesy AAPA

THE Northern Land Council (NLC) welcomes today’s decision by the Darwin Magistrates Court in finding OM Manganese (OMM) guilty of desecrating a sacred site.

OMM was found guilty by Magistrate Sue Oliver of one count of desecrating and one count of damaging the Two Women Sacred Site that was within the boundaries of its Bootu Creek manganese mine 170km north of Tennant Creek, and was fined $150,000.

NLC Chairman, Wali Wunungmurra, said protecting and respecting sacred sites should be a priority.

Mr Wunungmurra also expressed his sympathy with the Traditional Owners at the destruction of the sacred site.

“With the Traditional Owners we are upset at the loss of this site of significance. But with them I am also happy that this decision went the way it did,” Mr Wunungmurra said today.

“This landmark judgement should trigger change throughout the mining industry, with companies taking much more caution and showing greater respect regarding Aboriginal heritage.

“This historic judgement shows that the Northern Territory -- and Australia -- has come a long way since the damage to sacred sites by a mining company at my home in north-east Arnhem Land in the 1960s.”

Mr Wunungmurra welcomed OM Manganese Ltd’s expression of sincere contrition.

“To its credit, the company has worked to rebuild trust with traditional owners since the desecration including in private meetings,” he said.

“The NLC looks forward to continuing discussions with a view to securing an ongoing and positive future relationship between OM Manganese Ltd and the traditional owners.”