Posted: November 26th, 2013
Yamatji Marlpa’s CEO Simon Hawkins was featured in the recently published The Miners – Stories from the industry that drives modern Australia, by Barry Avery.
The Miners is available at www.theminers.net.au with proceeds going to the Starlight Foundation:
Read the excerpt here:
The 1992 event that has become known as the Mabo Decision changed the landscape of mining and exploration in Australia forever. This was a landmark High Court ruling that recognised the legal concept of Native Title for the first time, rejecting the previously held doctrine of terra nullius. It gave the Indigenous traditional owners certain legal rights to their land.
The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC), of which Simon Hawkins has been chief executive for the past decade, is an organisation that represents 25 Aboriginal cultural groups across the Pilbara, Murchison and Gascoyne regions of Western Australia – including dealing with Australia’s major resource developers with respect to Native Title claims. Hawkins explains that recognition of Native Title does not give a veto over mining or development, as traditional owners cannot stop mining from going ahead. What it does give these groups is a right to negotiate, allowing development to go ahead while claims are being resolved. ‘This gives traditional owners a seat at the table – to have a say about how mining will unfold on their country,’ he says.
‘When I started as chief executive in 2003, the mining boom was ramping up and companies which previously had poor relationships with Aboriginal people were now knocking on our door. Within my first few weeks on the job, Rio Tinto said it wanted to do a comprehensive agreement in the Pilbara. (more…)