Fortescue Metals Group will appeal a July court ruling giving the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) native title rights over a region of Pilbara land that throws into question Fortescue’s tenure over its Solomon Hub iron operations.
“The Federal Court decision relating to the concept of exclusive possession has potentially wide ranging implications for new investment in resources, agriculture and tourism,” said outgoing Fortescue chief executive officer Nev Power.
Fortescue’s comments are the latest stage in a long-running series of negotiations between the company and YAC. Yindjibarndi leader Michael Woodley is currently seeking compensation from the mining giant.
“Through our seven land access agreements with native title groups across the Pilbara,” explained Power, “we have delivered employment to over 1200 Aboriginal people and nearly $2 billion in contracts to Aboriginal businesses in addition to compensation payments.”
Fortescue explained in its statement that while it welcomed the recognition of native title for the Yindjibarndi people, the federal court’s decision could have wide-reaching ramification not just for resources, but tourism and agriculture as well.