Dave Whitelaw

Dave Whitelaw


BHP Yandi mine working with Banjima traditional owners

Banjima people value all of Banjima country - but these days BHP, Rio Tinto Iron Ore, Fortescue Metals, tourists, conservationists and pastoralist value it too.  Modern management of Banjima country requires Banjima people to work with many stakeholders, and they are using their Banjima Yurlubajagu Strategic Plan to help others understand their shared vision for Banjima country. 

I was fortunate to see this in action last month when I accompanied elder representatives and rangers to spend two days with BHP’s various heritage, environmental, hydrology and native title managers to discuss the partial closure and rehabilitation of the Yandi Mine site, and other planned activities in the Marillana Creek area. 

The opportunity allowed for everyone to learn more about the Banjima Yurlubajagu Strategic Plan, and how the rangers can more actively collaborate with BHP specialists in the future to achieve shared outcomes.

A key Banjima issue raised in the two-day forum was the significance of Yurlu (water) and looking after the many Yurlu places that Banjima are custodians for in the Marillana Creek landscape, and the challenges that mining activities place on these Yurlu sites.  Conversations were direct and respectful with an important outcome to jointly focus on discussing with other language groups and mining companies the cumulative impacts all of the mines in the area are having on the culturally and environmentally significant Manggurdu (Fortescue Marsh). 

Banjima’s Yurlubajagu Strategic Plan is important in these discussions, not only for presenting a clear vision and roadmap for Banjima Yurlubajagu - it is a united voice for Banjima people.  Banjima representatives can speak to contents of the plan, and to the community-centered process used to develop it, giving stakeholders confidence that it maps out the social, economic and cultural outcomes Banjima people want to see.

BHP Yandi Mine looking across to the 3 Sisters

Yandi Mine Bus Tour

Yandi Mine Marilllan Creek

Banjima Ranger presentation at Yandi Mine


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