First Nations landholders and communities are fundamental partners in mining and integral to the social and economic contribution the industry makes to Australia.
Developing and sustaining strong relationships with First Nations landholders and communities and contributing to their cultural, social and economic priorities has been a priority for the minerals industry for more than two decades.
The minerals industry values the diversity, knowledge and histories of First Nations cultures, and respects the rights and interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities regarding their lands.
Robust cultural heritage management processes demonstrate respect, protect significant cultural heritage places, sites and items and enable land-based development to occur. Leading practice industry approaches also strive to support broader appreciation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
Today, around 6,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – many in remote and regional areas – choose to work in the sector. This is the highest proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people of any Australian industry. Tailored entry and career development pathways are in place at many operations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals, apprentices, trainees and workers.
The minerals industry was also one of the first to establish preferential Indigenous procurement programs to help build a strong and vibrant Indigenous business sector.
Land use agreements with Traditional Owners under native title or land rights regimes establish the terms of land access. Agreements provide financial and non-financial benefits in return for land use establish culturally-significant areas to be protected and detail other arrangements important to both parties.
Voluntary arrangements are also common, with the sector committed to strong, respectful and long-term partnerships with First Nations landholders, communities and organisations.