Mining company surrenders exploration rights on traditional land

A mining company that was given permission to drill on sacred sites has been praised by the traditional owners for deciding not to explore there.

The exploration leases granted to Buru Energy around Roebuck Bay near Broome have been rethought by the company, which asked for a ban on some areas after finding out the land is culturally significant to the local indigenous community.

The company said it gave up its rights to explore for oil and gas in Roebuck Bay because of the area’s cultural and environmental significance.

The Yawuru people have welcomed the decision by Buru Energy and chief executive Peter Yu told the ABC he hopes the situation will be repeated with other exploration and mining on traditional land.

"I think that there’s a lot to be learnt," he said.

"I think that there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there and that misunderstanding can only be managed and addressed where there is a one-to-one, face-to-face sort of relationship.

"It’s about knowing each other on a lot more regular terms without having the sort of suspicion and cynicism there."

Buru said in a statement that the protection of Roebuck Bay was a natural extension of its relationship with the Yawuru people that demonstrated its commitment to the Kimberley community.

Image: Oz Roamer

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