Toro Energy has signed an agreement with Traditional Owners for its Wiluna uranium project.
According to Traditional owner group Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation chair Kelman Patch, this agreement provides opportunities for indigenous business development and employment, as well as the protection of cultural heritage.
“Our people have been able to negotiate a strong agreement to protect their interests and to pursue benefits and opportunities from this project,” Patch said.
According to the miner, the focus of the agreement is to develop “a mutually beneficial long-term relationship between the Wiluna People and Toro; ensure the impact of Toro’s activities on the Wiluna Native Title Holders’ interests, on Wiluna Country, and on the environment are minimised; ensuring the Wiluna People are kept informed of, and are consulted about, Toro’s activities, particularly in relation to cultural heritage and environmental impacts; providing compensation for the impact of Wiluna Native Title Holders’ rights and interests an on Wiluna Country; and providing funding and other benefits to the Wiluna Native Title Holders to protect country and maintain traditional law and culture.
The agreement also recognises are range of other business and employment initiatives, with Toro already providing funding to build capacity for the local indigenous people to carry out environmental and radiation monitoring, with plans to later extend this into other areas of environmental work such as groundwater monitoring, mine closure, and rehabilitation.
Toro Energy managing director Vanessa Guthrie said from the start of Toro’s engagement with the Wiluna People, it was important for them to understand how uranium mining may affect their land, culture, and health.
“Throughout this process Toro has provided the Wiluna People with the means to secure their own independent advice about the issues of greatest importance to them,” Guthrie said.
“As a result, they have reached a position where they can give full and informed consent to Toro’s development proposals on their land.”
Toro’s Wiluna uranium project also takes in the Lake Maitland deposit, over which there is currently no native title claim, however the miner has been engaging with the Barwidgee People who claim an interest in the area.