Australia’s first Indigenous mine opens in NT – by Matt Cunningham (Sky News Australia – December 10, 2017)

The colour of the dirt might have been different, but according to the Gumatj clan, the moment was no less significant.

At Gulkula in Northeast Arnhem Land, Gumatj leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu poured a handful of bauxite into the hands of Rio Tinto workers Jim Singer and Ken Kahler, just as Gough Whitlam had done with Vincent Lingiari at Wave Hill 51 years ago.

‘I feel proud. I feel more proud than ever before,’ Dr Yunupingu said. The moment marked the opening of the Gulkula Mine, the first Aboriginal owned and operated mine in Australian history.

The mine will sell it’s product to Rio Tinto for export to domestic and international customers.Rio Tinto Gove Operations general manager Linda Murry said the significance of the mine’s opening couldn’t be understated.

‘As the first indigenous bauxite mine, fully owned, all through the supply chain, this is world breaking,’ she said. Gumatj Corporation chief executive Klaus Helms said the mine would provide 10 real jobs for the local Yolngu people, adding to the Gumatj’s other commercial projects which include a timber mill, abattoir, butcher shop and concrete batching plant.

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