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Agnico Eagle and Traditional Owners ink “historic” mining agreement

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Agnico Eagle and the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (DJAARA) have signed a mining agreement acknowledging the Dja Dja Wurrung People as the Traditional Owners of the Fosterville gold mine.

The agreement is called Bakaru Wayaparrangu, which means “in the middle, we all meet” in Dja Dja Wurrung language.

Agnico Eagle said the agreement will enable DJAARA to have influence over the environmental impact of the Fosterville mine and remediation works after the mine closes in 2033.

To implement the agreement, employment, training and business opportunities for the Dja Dja Wurrung People will be facilitated at Fosterville, and annual financial contributions will be to DJAARA to compensate them for the gold mined.

“Through this agreement, we will be able to speak for Country,” Dja Dja Wurrung Group chief executive officer (CEO) Rodney Carter said.

“Bakaru Wayaparrangu will ensure that Dja Dja Wurrung People are compensated for some of the impact and receive some of the benefit from mining activity on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. But this is not just about DJAARA: this agreement will stimulate regional economic growth and could lead to hundreds of local jobs.”

The agreement’s implementation follows seven years of negotiations between the Dja Dja Wurrung People and Agnico Eagle and is the first mining agreement in Victoria between Traditional Owners and an active mining company.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony held on May 13 in Rocky Crossing, Goornong, Victoria.

A committee made up of DJAARA representatives and Fosterville mine employees and management is set to be established to implement Bakaru Wayaparrangu and to ensure the agreement’s objectives are achieved.

“We believe that for mining to work, it must work for all stakeholders,” Agnico Eagle president and CEO Ammar Al-Joundi said.

“We are privileged to operate on Dja Dja Wurrung Country and this agreement allows us to strengthen our ties with the local community through respectful and meaningful engagement, ensuring that we honour our privilege with responsible stewardship.

“We are determined to leave a lasting positive legacy in the region, creating enduring benefits that outlive our operational presence.”

The Fosterville gold mine is located 25km east of Bendigo and is the largest gold producer in Victoria. At the end of 2023, the operation had mined over 4.2 million ounces of gold since beginning operations in 2005.

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