The Federal Court has recognised an exclusive Yindjibarndi Native Title claim over an area north of Karijini National Park that includes Fortescue Metal Group’s Solomon Hub mine. The decision has significant implications for royalty payments made to traditional owners and has been a source of conflict both within the Yindjibarndi community and between the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation and Fortescue Metal Group. FMG controversially supported and allegedly funded a ‘splinter group’, Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, who separated from the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation in 2011 ostensibly to negotiate with FMG for royalty terms that were apparently favoured by FMG.
A videolink of Justice Rares handing down his decision was broadcast via videolink to the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation offices in Roebourne and were greeted with enthusiastic shouts and cheers. FMG have announced that they intend to appeal the decision.