Native Title claimants want to ban mining

Vicky Validakis Australian Mining 14 May, 2013

The Gomeroi people of Northern NSW are seeking legal advice one ways to stop all mining and development on their ancestral lands.

More than 400 Native Title claimants met in Tamworth at the weekend with representatives saying they are looking at options to stop ministerial decisions which approve mining in the region.

“The Gomeroi people will not be lying down,” Gomeroi claimant Anthony Munroe told NITV.

“Mining is coming to our country but we are going to fight them every step of the way through the courts, through the protests, and through the support of the Gomeroi people.”

The Gomeroi people are concerned that mining projects could destroy sacred sites.

They want to impose an injunction on mistrial mining decisions until Native Title has been determined.

“Native title has not been extinguished on water, and Native title has never been extinguished over our trees, plants, animals and everything else,” claimant Michael Anderson said.

“We don’t care what title you’ve got, but we’re not going to allow you to destroy our connection with all those things.”

The Gomeroi people say coal mining and CSG will have devastating affects on their land.

Anderson said the injunctions could mean mining exploration and development is frozen in the region and have sought legal advice on how to impose the bans.

Anderson said he hopes the Gomeroi people’s decision to fight mining will inspire others in the country to do the same.

The Gomeroi Country extends broadly from the Queensland/NSW border region to Tamworth, Aberdeen/Muswellbrook, Coonabarabran and Walgett, areas rich in mining resources.

Increased mining activity in the region including proposed coal mining and CSG activity has prompted the action.

On 20 January 2012 representatives of the Gomeroi people filed an application in the National Native Title Tribunal which sought to have the Federal Court recognise Native Title over the area.

ABC reported that some of the world’s biggest mining companies have lodged Notice of Intention to become an interested party after being asked if they would be impacted by the claim.

They include Santos, Xtrata, Anglo Coal, Aston Coal, Coal Mines Australia and Boggabri Coal.

There are also about 60 farmers and pastoral companies, including Auscott Limited and the Cuon Pastoral Company.

The matter has been listed for further directions in the Federal Court in Sydney on June 24.