QLD miner fined for disturbing Aboriginal sites

A central Queensland quarrying company has been fined $80 000 for "disturbing culturally significant Aboriginal artefacts".

MCG Quarries has been charged with one count of failing to comply with a cultural heritage duty of care.

It was also ordered to pay more $2000 in legal costs.

Queensland’s natural resources minister Rachel Nolan said MCG had disturbed between 30 and 35 artefacts, mainly stone items, during the construction of a gravel track at its Moranbah Quarry.

"Moranbah Quarry is of high cultural significance to the local indigenous community and these artefacts represent a spiritual connection to the land," Nolan said.

"Between 26 June 2009 and 25 August 2010 MCG Quarries used machinery to construct a track from an existing quarry to a sand extraction quarry.

She went on to say that the company had taken no ‘reasonable measures’ to ensure that it did not damage the artefacts.

"MCG Quarries did not undertake a survey to find the location or extent of artefacts, did not consult with local cultural heritage staff or the local indigenous community and did not have an approved cultural heritage management plan in place."

This fine comes as Fortescue Metals Group battles against claims that it willfully changed an Aboriginal heritage survey for its Solomon operations.

The miner came under fire after the Greens called on the Federal Government to act on claims that Fortescue was damaging Aboriginal heritage sites in the Pilbara, with an archaeologist from Eureka Heritage History Achaeology, which carried out the study, backed up the claims.

However, Fortescue hit out at the claims it forced the change of an Aboriginal heritage survey and damaged sacred indigenous sites, stating that it is part of a malicious campaign against the company.

The FMG case continues.


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