Traditional owners challenge proposed Cape silica mine

A FACTION of traditional owners from Cape Bedford are challenging a proposed silica sand mine in a dispute that has split a clan and could provoke legal action.

Members of the Yuwaal Thiithaarr Warra Aboriginal Corporation claim that the Hope Vale Congress have acted without the informed consent of traditional owners in its dealings with Diatreme Resources Pty Ltd.

The company is seeking to mine high-grade silica sand and other minerals, with operations anticipated to begin next year.

"This is not what the traditional owners want. It is not in the long-term interests of the parties involved or the wellbeing of our country and environment," a spokesman for Yuwaal Thiithaarr Warra said.

Diatreme Resources have proposed a huge silica mine at Cape Bedford, 20km north of Cooktown.
Diatreme Resources have proposed a huge silica mine at Cape Bedford, 20km north of Cooktown.

 

"We're calling on the wider community to join forces and help us protect our pristine Cape."

Queensland Lawyers is acting as the legal representation for the Yuwaal Thiithaarr Warra Aboriginal Corporation.

Thiithaarr elder Frankie Deemal said the Congress and Diatreme had not acted in the interests of the affected clan groups.

"We object to the way they have proceeded," Mr Deemal said.

"What about the cultural and heritage assessments, the social impact, the clan has many, many concerns."

But Congress member Ivan Deemal said the corporation did not represent the affected families.

"The group has bombarded everybody with emails, they are a small portion of the Thiithaarr clan," Mr Deemal said.

He said the mine would help alleviate poverty in Hope Vale.

"The other families totally agree with the mine," Mr Deemal said.

"At the moment we have to grovel for money from the government. With the mine we can look after our people and our land.

"It is on a very small area that is out of the way."

Diatreme CEO Neil McIntyre said the company was committed to a " thorough engagement process".

"Many meetings with the broader community are required and are being planned for coming months, along with briefings to various affected groups and parties," Mr McIntyre said.

"Meetings with many regional interested parties have been ongoing for some years regarding project and progress briefings."

Originally published as Traditional owners challenge proposed Cape silica mine


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