Back to search results

printable versionPrint this page

Tanami Mining Agreements

Date: 1 January 1983
Sub Category:Exploration Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act) | Mining Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act)
Place:Tanami Region, northwest of Alice Springs
State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
Subject Matter:Cultural Heritage | Employment and Training | Environmental Heritage | Mining and Minerals | Native Title | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests | Compensation | Exploration | Native Title | Health and Community Services
Summary Information:
The Tanami Agreements were negotiated between Normandy Mining Limited and the Central Land Council (CLC) on behalf of the Warlpiri people. There are two sets of agreements, the first being six Tanami agreements dating from 1983, and the newer Groundrush agreements, of which there are four.
The Tanami agreements have undergone a number of extensions and revisions over time and cover mining and exploration on Normandy leases and exploration tenements. These agreements were originally negotiated by North flinders Mines, which was subsequently taken over by Normandy.
The Groundrush agreements cover pre-feasibility work on the Groundrush prospect and are to be reviewed after a feasibility study.
Both sets of agreements comply with the provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth).
Detailed Information:
The agreements affect land in the Tanami region of the Northern Territory, northwest of Alice Springs and include provisions on the following:
- compensation;
- direct payments;
- indirect payments of royalty equivalents via the Northern Territory government;
- a community trust fund as required under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976;
- access to country for traditional owners;
- medical treatment of traditional owners at mining camps;
- assistance for traditional owners when travelling through country via mining camps;
- financial assistance to CLC for the administration of the agreement;
- training and employment;
- environmental protection and rehabilitation; and
- cross cultural training of employees.

The agreements also cover the management and protection of cultural heritage and contain strong provisions detailing that all heritage sites within the active mining areas and areas that are being intensively explored must be identified and fenced off.
Employee training contributes to the knowledge and understanding of heritage sites and helps to ensure cross cultural awareness.
The environmental protection provisions reflect the wishes of the traditional owners and adhere to best practice initiatives in the mining industry. Amongst other things, they include: minimal disturbance of ground; no interference with natural water systems; retention of natural vegetation as well as rehabilitation of land; prevention of harm to wildlife; and monitoring and reporting of the natural environment and any impacts.
As part of the agreement, Normandy also endeavoured to provide employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people, especially those who live in the local region. A mentor program was initiated to encourage young Indigenous people into the industry and Normandy regularly consults the CLC about employment and contracting opportunities.

The negotiations for the Groundrush agreements occurred over ten formal meetings, and included a number of informal discussions. No government agencies attended the negotiations, but under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, the Commonwealth government was required to approve the agreement and monitor its implementation. A committee, made up of two people from CLC, two from Normandy and three Warlpiri people, also monitors the implementation of the agreements, and meets approximately three times a year with funding from Normandy.

Related Entries

  • Normandy Mining Limited
  • Newmont Mining Corporation
  • Legislation
  • Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)
  • People
  • Warlpiri

  • References

    Indigenous Support Services and ACIL Consulting (2001) 'Agreements between Mining Companies and Indigenous Communities: A Report to the Australian Minerals and Energy Environment Foundation'


    Mining Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)) (Australia) | Exploration Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)) (Australia)

    Top of page

    Was this useful? Click here to fill in the ATNS survey