Waanyi Downer JV secures Century mine contract in ‘industry-first’ agreement

New Century Resources, Waanyi Downer JV, the Waanyi PBC and Waanyi Traditional Owners marking the signing.

New Century Resources has awarded a historic mining services contract at the Century zinc mine in Queensland to the Waanyi Downer Joint Venture (WDJV).

The award of the contract to WDJV is part of a unique compensation arrangement New Century has reached with the Waanyi People.

An industry first, the agreement has been described as a viable mechanism to recognise the value of Indigenous Cultural Heritage, empowering Traditional Owner communities that have mining developments within their traditional lands.

New Century has also executed a cultural heritage management plan (CHMP) with the Waanyi People, providing Traditional Owner consent for the development of the South Block, which is on the southernmost portion of the original Century ore body.

Waanyi Registered Native Title Body Corporate chairman Alec Doomadgee said it was the first agreement to “genuinely recognise” the value and significance of the Waanyi People’s cultural heritage and birth rite after almost 20 years of activity at the Century mine.

“Our ability to engage in real nation building commercial development through the Waanyi Downer JV will contribute significantly to a model of self-determination for the Waanyi People,” Doomadgee said.

The mining services agreement with the WDJV will contribute to the direct benefits that will be provided to the Waanyi People as part of the CHMP.

New Century’s life-of-mine contract will see WDJV provide services for the mining of East Fault Block and South Block Resources adjacent to the Century open pit mine.

Scope of works for the contract include waste and ore removal and haulage; equipment supply and maintenance; drilling services; and technical and mine management.

New Century managing director Patrick Walta said the agreement followed 18 months of rigorous engagement, consultations and negotiations between the company and the Waanyi Native Title Group.

“The agreement is believed to be the first of its kind for the mining industry, which empowers the Waanyi Traditional Owners through their partnership with Downer, a major mining contractor, and inclusion in mining operations over South Block,” Walta said.

The WDJV is already engaged at the Century operation through ongoing care and maintenance, as well as delivery of training and development programs for local Indigenous Peoples.

Downer chief executive officer Grant Fenn said the contractor was pleased to be expanding its relationship with New Century Resources.

“Downer and Waanyi have already developed excellent working relationships with New Century Resources and we look forward to working closely with them to achieve their long-term endeavours for economic rehabilitation of the Century mine,” Fenn said.