BHP has launched a joint investigation with the Banjima people into the cause of a rock fall which occurred last month at a registered Aboriginal site in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The rock fall occurred at Mining Area C, part of BHP’s $3.4 billion South Flank replacement project in the Pilbara region.
BHP president for minerals Australia Edgar Basto said the cause of the fall is unknown.
“This site is not part of current mining operations. The cause of this rock fall is not known,” he said.
Basto emphasised his company’s positive relationship with the Banjima people.
“Our relationship with the Banjima people is critically important to BHP. Over many years we have built a strong relationship with the Banjima based on deep respect for their heritage and their connection to country,” he said.
“We have personally expressed our concern to Banjima Elders and commenced a joint investigation.”
Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (BNTAC) chairperson and Banjima Elder Maitland Parker said they are working to maintain an open and thorough dialogue with BHP.
“Our Heritage Council was convened to ensure open lines of communication between BHP and Banjima on heritage issues and other matters — something that is now happening. BNTAC and our Heritage Council, alongside BHP, will continue this investigation to ascertain the exact causes of the impact on the site,” he said.
BHP promised not to destroy at least 40 Aboriginal heritage sites in July last year, despite having been given ministerial permission to do so.