Traditional owners go mining, bypass iron ore giants – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – February 12, 2021)

The newest player in the lucrative Pilbara iron ore industry also happens to be the region’s oldest.

Fed up with mining companies that don’t adequately care for their country and cultural heritage, the traditional owners of Australia’s busiest iron ore mining district are taking matters, and drill rigs, into their own hands.

In a stark illustration of the changing relationship between Australia’s biggest export industry and the nation’s original inhabitants, the Eastern Guruma people have established their own mining company and applied for nine exploration permits within their native title area.

Their ambitious act of self-determination has received a major boost, with the WA government awarding three of those nine permits to their company, Guruma Resources.

Eastern Guruma territory already hosts six Rio Tinto iron ore mines and Fortescue Metals’ Solomon mining hub, and Eastern Guruma spokesman Tony Bevan said the group was motivated by a desire to have greater control over the future mines built on its ancestral lands.

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