Native title division in Fortescue’s Solomon iron ore project

A breakaway indigenous group is making negotiations with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), creating a split in the native community.

Fortescue is looking to expand its Solomon iron ore project, north of Rio Tinto’s Tom Price mine.

However, its expansion and compensation scheme was rejected by the local Yindjibarndi people and the cause moved to the Federal Court.

Despite the rejection of the original claim, a breakaway group is continuing negotiations with FMG.

Fortescue spokesperson Allery Sandy said the group opposing the offer need to understand the opportunities it can create.

"FMG is offering to train our people and to bring them to their level, to learn to read and write and get them out into the mines and work," she said.

But the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation said the original offer is unfair and blamed Fortescue for dividing the community.

Fortescue said that it has no legal requirement to negotiate the claim as it had already acquired the leases, but is still willing to negotiate with the breakaway group.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.