​McArthur River Mine (MRM) and Bing Bong Loading Facility are situated on the traditional lands of the Gudanji and Yanyuwa people. Today these lands continue to be important to these and other local traditional language groups including Garwa and Mara people.

MRM is an active member of the community and works closely with Traditional Owners to preserve the cultural heritage of the local Aboriginal people. We respect local customs and values and safeguard sacred sites within the footprint of our operations.

Our commitment to cultural heritage management has guided the establishment of valued relationships with Traditional Owners, Custodians and other Aboriginal people. It is critical that our workforce understands the traditional rights and culture of Indigenous people and we have implemented a number of systems and processes to ensure sites of cultural significance and matters of cultural interest are identified and preserved.

Indigenous employees at MRM are an important part of our workforce, currently accounting for around 20% of total employees.  We respect, recognise and value the cultural rights, practices and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and learn from their wisdom. 

Managing access

MRM preserves and manages the identified sites in line with AAPA conditions. These call for:

  • Entry to sacred sites to be prevented

  • No work that disturbs the ground at sacred sites
  • Prevention of damage to any vegetation at sacred sites other than for specified purposes
  • No material to be stored or material to be parked near sacred sites
  • Protective fences and signage to be erected around sacred sites
  • Access permitted for cultural purposes.

Clearing permits are required for any employee or contractor undertaking works which may disturb the ground or vegetation anywhere on the mining lease, not only adjacent to sacred sites.

To apply for a permit, workers must complete an 'Application and Authorisation for Proposed Land Clearance' form, which then requires approval from each of MRM's Community Relations, Environment and Survey departments. As a further safeguard, sacred and significant sites are signposted throughout the lease area.

 

Site access for cultural purposes

We understand that access to sacred and significant sites is an important part of preserving the cultural heritage of the local Aboriginal people and we work closely with Traditional Owners to organise regular site visits.

As an operational mine, the health and safety of all employees and visitors is our highest priority. Therefore, anyone seeking access to the mine site for cultural purposes is asked to provide at least 48 hours' notice of the visit to the Community Relations team. That way we can make sure it is safe to enter the area nominated or make alternative arrangements as necessary.

17 sites of cultural significance

Extensive studies, including archaeological and ethnographic surveys, have been undertaken to identify and protect culturally significant sites within MRM's lease area.

Entry to sacred sites is prohibited. Employees, contractors and visitors must obey signs.

These studies have identified 17 sites of cultural significance that either have a direct link to dreamtime stories or are important to the history and culture of the local Aboriginal people.

These sites are registered with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA). This statutory authority of the Northern Territory Government was established under complementary NT legislation in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976.  The AAPA has issued authority certificates for the mine's operational areas in accordance with the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989.