The Banjima people of Western Australia’s Pilbara region have won a Native Title claim covering over 10,000sqkm after a 15-year court battle. The Native Title claim was brought to an end when a Federal Court handed down its decision to award the rights of the land to the Banjima people. The claim was first lodged in 1998 and covers an area from Tom Price in the west of the state, and extending to towards to the town of Newman in the east, The West Australian reported.
The land rights will co-exist with iron ore mining operations held by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Hancock Prospecting and Fortescue Metals Group. It is expected the decision will not affect the rights of mining tenements or pastoral leases that have already been granted, but will change the negotiation process with the region’s miners.