Mining giant invests $5.6m in Pilbara Cultural Land Management Project

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Rio Tinto and Pilbara Cultural Land Management Project members on Murujuga country to mark the $5.6 million partnership.
Camera IconRio Tinto and Pilbara Cultural Land Management Project members on Murujuga country to mark the $5.6 million partnership. Credit: Supplied/Rio Tinto/Rio Tinto

A mining giant has invested more than $5 million in a program to support traditional owners to manage and monitor land in the Pilbara.

The Pilbara Cultural Land Management Project was established in 2019, supported by the Pilbara Development Commission, to support traditional owners to lead projects that address land management and access.

The PCLMP was designed to allow members to engage in training programs to help develop tools that support cultural, heritage and environmental mapping, monitoring and management.

The program has participants from Indigenous corporations across the Pilbara, including the Karlka Nyiyaparli Ranger Program, which looks after Fortescue Marsh near Newman, and the Yinhawangka Aboriginal Corporation, which covers land south of Onslow including the Ashburton River, Kunderong Range, Rocklea and Turee Creek.

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Rio Tinto announced on November 3 it would invest $5.6m over five years in the project to enable Pilbara traditional owners to work together to preserve country and culture.

The funds will also go towards the provision of startup support for ranger programs, creating a network of knowledge-sharing as well as career development pathways.

Yinhawangka land management co-ordinator Hilton Gruis said the program supported cultural connection across Pilbara traditional owner groups.

“For Yinhawangka people this includes the recent Yirra excavation which confirmed the presence of Yinhawangka people on country for more than 50,000 years,” he said.

Rio Tinto vice-president health, safety, environment and communities Cecile Thaxter said the company was grateful to be part of this collaboration.

“We want to strengthen our relationship with traditional owners in the Pilbara through the development of sustainable ranger programs that provide social, cultural, and environmental benefits,” she said.

“The traditional owners who make up the PCLMP has been caring for country for thousands of years and through this project, traditional owners will have a greater say in the decisions that affect them.

“We recognise the importance of traditional owners taking the lead in caring for their country and the importance of combining traditional knowledge with conservation training to protect and manage land, waters and culture.”

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