WA iron ore producer Midwest Corporation is pleased to announce the finalization of its heritage agreements with the Jidi Jidi Aboriginal Corporation (JJAC), covering its prospective iron ore and manganese tenements at the Robinson Range Project in WA’s Mid West region.
The agreement has been reached with JJAC, the regional native title prescribed body corporate, on behalf of the Nharnuwangga Wajarri and Ngarlawangga (NWN) people, who have a determined native title claim which includes the Robinson Range Project area, approximately 120km north west of Meekatharra. The NWN people were the first native title claim group to have their native title recognised in WA in 2000 after a long court case.
The landmark agreement, which was formally signed on November 27 at a ceremony on traditional lands at Yulga Jinna, will now pave the way for commencement of advanced exploration and some mining across the project.
Midwest Corporation Chief Executive Officer Bryan Oliver said the Nharnuwangga Wajarri and Ngarlawangga Heritage Agreement was a major milestone for both the company and the community.
“We are very pleased and proud to have reached this agreement, which provides the basis for a long term and mutually beneficial relationship with JJAC, the NWN people and Midwest Corporation,” Mr Oliver said.
“For Midwest, it marks an important step forward with the Robinson Range Project, and will open the door for the commencement of exploration activities under the terms and heritage protection procedures included in the agreement.
Jidi Jidi spokesperson Linda Riley said the agreement was the result of the development of a constructive relationship and open consultation between the two parties.
“For our people it will provide a range of outcomes to support native title and heritage management, as well as long term community development,” Linda Riley said.
“Through the agreement, local people will be involved in environmental and community consultation with Midwest Corporation, as well having as access to training and employment opportunities, and longer term educational support,” Linda Riley said.
“An important aspect of this agreement is the long term partnership with the community,” Mr Oliver said.
In April 2009, Midwest will also be sponsoring a tour by the WA Symphony Orchestra (WASO) involving five orchestra members to schools in Mt Magnet, Cue, Meekathara, and Yulga Jinna. The “WASO5” tour will give students an opportunity to experience live orchestral music, as well as the chance to try some of the instruments themselves.
Following the signing of the agreement, Midwest has commenced heritage surveys before undertaking drilling and other exploration activities at Robinson Range in February 2009. Initial exploration activities will target promising haematite deposits identified by earlier geological field exploration.
Mr Oliver said the Company was also aiming in the short term to establish a small scale manganese mining operation at Robinson Range, which was an historical source of high grade manganese.
Midwest, which was this year acquired by Sinosteel Corporation, is currently developing five projects in the Mid West region. This includes its flagship Weld Range Project, where it has an identified haematite Mineral Resource of 149.2mt, and Jack Hills, where it has commenced a pre-feasibility study for a potential haematite project.