Cape York mine approved by traditional owners

A bauxite mining company has finalised agreements with Aboriginal traditional land owners in western Cape York.

The Bauxite Hills mine and port project area will begin large-scale exploration later this year, following the signing of Exploration Consent and the Conduct and Compensation Agreements by the Cape Alumina and the Apudthama Land Trust (ALT).

The project is now on track to begin in this years’ dry season at the project area located 95 kilometres north of Weipa on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula.

A concept study was completed earlier this year and found the Bauxite Hills project has a potential yield of up to 100 million tonnes of dry-product bauxite and 15-year export operation.

Cape Alumina chief executive Neville Conway said the agreements were a “major milestone” in the project’s development and shows the good relationship the company has with the Indigenous community in western Cape York.

“We are extremely pleased that these agreements with the Apudthama land Trust have been finalised and that the Bauxite Hills project will have significant benefits for all parties,” he said.

“The negotiations were conducted in a friendly and cooperative manner with a view that the development of the Bauxite Hills project will have significant benefits for all parties.

“Starting later this year we will undertake an advanced exploration and drilling program to establish a JORC resource and commence environmental studies of the area before moving into the feasibility stage of the project.

“Over the years, Cape Alumina has successfully developed a very strong relationship with the traditional land owners and Aboriginal people of western Cape York within the areas of our operations.

“We have employed traditional land owners to assist us in our field operations (exploration, cultural heritage surveys, environmental studies and community liason) and we will continue to do so at the Bauxite Hills Project area.”

Conway said the project has the potential to generate over $1 billion of economic activity in Queensland and will significantly benefit the Aboriginal people in the region.

“This project has the potential to be a significant economic asset not only for Queensland but for the entire country, and would give a much-needed boost to the western Cape York region,” he said.

“Our project would boost business development and employment in the area and has the potential to give local people the chance to develop their skills while also enhancing regional centres like Cairns as an important base for the fly-in, fly-out component of our workforce.”

The issue of mining on traditional land has reached fever pitch in recent weeks, particularly with Fortescue Metals’ (FMG) fallout with the Yinjibarndi people in the Pilbara.

The company’s chief executive Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest says he has received death threats over a video poster by the Yinjibarndi people who allege the company acted inappropriately.

In new South Wales, an Indigenous community in the Hunter Valley are at odds with each other over approval of a coal mine, with some saying a vocal group supporting the mine are not traditional owners of the land and accusing them of having personal dealings with the mining company involved.

Image: Cape Alumina

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