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Historic Gove agreement rights past wrongs

Posted: Thu, May 26, 2011

Northern Land Council Chief Executive Mr Kim Hill said today’s approval of a 42-year extension of the Rio Tinto Alcan bauxite mine and alumina refinery at Gove would provide long-term benefits for Aboriginal traditional owners.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin today signed off on the agreement, after negotiations which
commenced in 2008 between the NLC, traditional owners and Rio Tinto Alcan.

“This is a landmark occasion, which completes the circle which commenced with the Bark Petition in
1963 and the Gove Land Rights Case in 1971, when traditional owners challenged the development,”
he said.

"This agreement shows what can be delivered through good-will negotiations between a major
resources company and traditional owners.

“Since 1969, the development has operated without any agreement with traditional owners and I
commend Rio Tinto Alcan for delivering this historic outcome and righting past wrongs.”

Mr Hill’s sentiments were echoed by senior leaders of traditional owner groups, the Gumatj and

Gumatj clan leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu said today’s development would help provide employment
and business opportunities for his people.

“We have been direct as to our needs and the company has supported our vision for the future. We go
to the future with Rio Tinto as a partner,” he said.

“This agreement is with the traditional owners of the land – but it is, in reality, for all Yolngu of East
Arnhem Land. Our land is a shared future.”

Rirratjingu clan leader Bakamumu Marika said the agreement was “forty years overdue”.

“This partnership secures for Yolngu people participation in mining on their lands, on commercial

For a PDF version of the media release, click below: