Whitehaven Coal strikes native title agreement for Maules Creek

Whitehaven Coal has struck a Native Title Agreement with the Gomeroi Nation which will see access granted for the use of 300 hectares of land in the Gunnedah Basin.

Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn said the land would not be mined, but will contribute to improving efficiencies at the nearby Maules Creek mine,

ABC reported the agreement had come after four years of negotiations with representatives of the Gomeroi Nation.

"The Native Title Applicants are a group of 18 people, they're the elected officials of the Gomeroi Nation," Flynn said.

"They are the people in whose hands the Nation has entrusted the role of negotiating with us.

"It's the Nation that are basically behind this agreement but it's in the hand of the 18 Native Title Applicants, [who are] all Elders of the Nation, with whom we've arrived at this agreement.”

However one of the 18 applicants, Jason Wilson, said he had not been a part of the negotiations over the past year, and that the agreement was not representative of the desires of the Gomeroi Nation.

"I'd like to see a clear and transparent process so that our people have an opportunity to have a look at whatever is being put in front of this Applicant group, to understand the nature of it before anybody signs anything off,” Wilson said.

"We certainly [need to] have the opportunity to have that conversation amongst ourselves instead of charging forward and having some of these very large mining proponents knowing exactly how to manipulate Aboriginal people."

Flynn said that the agreement was reached through legitimate processes with the authorised representatives of the Gomeroi Nation.

"The Gomeroi Nation is obviously a very large group of people and the focus from Whitehaven's perspective is to deal with the authorised negotiators," he said.