WA Aboriginal group takes fight to federal govt

An Aboriginal group in Western Australia has voiced its concerns of damage to culturally significant sites if an application to halt mining is not processed quickly.

The Ngalia Foundation has lodged an application to stop mining at the Mountain Forrest Range with the department of sustainability, water, environment and conservation, the ABC reports.

The site the group is opposing is located 150 kilometres west of Leonora, where numerous mining companies are already conducting drilling.

Ngalia spokesperson Kado Muir told the ABC the group has grown tired of attempting to have the State Government handle the issue and taking the issue to the Gillard government could be the last shot in gaining protection for the range.

"We as custodians of that particular place have responsibilities to other Aboriginal people up and down this Dreaming track to the east and to the west to ensure that where this communal Dreaming track passes through our country, we look after it," he said

The concerns of the Ngalia group are the latest in a string of issues between mining companies and traditional land, and only a couple of weeks ago an Aboriginal community in North Stradbroke was divided over plans for sand mining in the region.

Earlier in the month, Prime Minister Julia Gillard signed the first ever mining lease deal with an Indigenous group in the Northern Territory.

Rio Tinto submitted the first Reconciliation Action Plan to the federal government as part of National Reconciliation Week, but an indigenous community in the Northern Territory then accused the miner of failing to consult with them over mining on traditional land.

Image: Ngalia Heritage Research Council

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