Mount Jowlaenga Traditional Owners and Sheffield Resources Ltd reach settlement over the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Mine

Mt J and Sheffield Nov 2018.jpg

Some 4 years after commencing negotiations with Sheffiled Resources Ltd about its Thunderbird mineral sands mine 95 kilometers north east of Broome, the Mount Jowlaenga #2 native title claim group this week signed a coexistence agreement with the company to govern how the Thunderbird mine will proceed over its estimated 42 year mine life.

The agreement will provide the Mount Jowlaenga people with heritage and environmental protection oversight, deliver employment and contracting opportunities for Traditional Owners and an estimated $150 million in compensation over the life of the mine for the impacts on the Mount Jowlaenga peoples’ native title rights and interests.

The outcome is a welcome one after a period of litigation in which the Mount Jowlaenga People, represented by Arma Legal, successfully appealed to the Full Federal Court on the ambit of the good faith obligation in negotiations conducted under the Native Title Act. The Full Court’s decision set a new precedent in extending the obligation of good faith to all negotiations conducted between proponents and native title parties, no matter whether they occur in the mandatory or voluntary negotiation period.

KRED Enterprises CEO Wayne Bergmann welcomed this week’s development and the parties’ settlement of the matter.

“I congratulate the Mount Jowlaenga People on their commitment to their cultural and heritage values and for standing strong to enforce the limited rights they are afforded under the Native Title Act. This week’s outcome is a positive one for both parties and we hope it ushers a new era for the relationship between the Traditional Owners and Sheffield Resources — one that is based on mutual respect and understanding,” Mr Bergmann said.