Juukan Gorge rehabilitation in progress

Juukan Gorge rehabilitation in progress
Mining News Pro - The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) Aboriginal Corporation has established a committee to communicate with Rio Tinto about the desired rehabilitation of Juukan Gorge.

Juukan Gorge is a gorge in the Hamersley Range in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

In May 2020, Rio Tinto was searching for iron ore when it blasted two rock shelters, despite traditional owners of the land warning the major miner of the site’s significance. Rio Tinto received ministerial consent for the blast in 2013.

Since the incident, Rio Tinto has aimed to increase transparency around its approach to cultural heritage protection and a Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation was created where Rio Tinto would provide financial support to the foundation to progress major cultural and social projects.

As reported by the ABC, PKKP land committee chairperson Burchell Hayes said they are committed to a co-management process of country with mining companies.

“To ensure that we will never experience this senseless feeling of loss and devastation in the future, we are driven towards achieving a co-management process of country with mining companies,” Hayes told the ABC.

“We have always said that we are not opposed to mining, but it needs to be done in the right way, involving traditional owners and, first of all, gaining our free, prior and informed consent.

“As traditional owners, the PKKP people can coexist with companies that wish to impact our traditional country, but the best path forward for these mining companies is stepping up to the co-management agreement.

Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Simon Trott said the company had made many changes to regain trust from the PKKP people.

“We’re working more closely with traditional owners to better protect heritage by moving beyond a transactional approach to deliver better outcomes on the ground and developing real partnerships which are based on respect,” Trott told the ABC.

“We know there is still much work to do as we continue to build trust with traditional owners and the community.”

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