The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation has won the right to be the sole representative of traditional owners in a legal dispute with Fortescue Metals Group.
In handing down the decision the court overruled the powers of a breakaway group, which sought to seal a $4 million benefits package with FMG, which the YAC opposed.
The ruling is a win for the YAC in a long running dispute with FMG over the multi-billion Solomon Hub iron ore project in the Pilbara.
According to ABC News Yindjibarndi CEO Michael Woodley said the ruling brought “tears of joy” for some traditional owners, and paved the way to open further negotiation with FMG.
“What is also open as well is for the Yindjibarndi people who moved away from the YAC and formed the breakaway group, are also willing to come back into the fold and start moving towards a positive part that gives Yindjibarndi people best outcomes that we all deserve,” he said.
In a statement FMG CEO Nev Power said he was confident the court decision would not impact the company's operations, and FMG would continue to work towards an agreement with the Yindjibarndi people.
The relationship between the YAC and FMG is a strained one, with the Aboriginal group last year accusing the miner of blocking Aboriginal elders from inspecting sacred sites at Solomon.
FMG founder and chairman Andrew Forrest previously said he had received death threats over the controversial debate, and archaeologists have alleged FMG forced them make changes to a study of the Solomon region.