Australia’s largest miner has told a federal inquiry into the blasting of the Juukan Gorge that Indigenous groups don’t have enough say over projects endangering significant sites.
BHP says the laws covering mining operations in the Pilbara were in favour of resource companies and they support enshrining traditional owner consultation requirements in new laws.
Currently, those seeking to mine, can appeal a refusal to use the land, and they can even push to have a review into whether an Aboriginal site should remain protected.
The miner would also support new laws giving traditional owners the right to appeal decisions, saying rights of appeal are not balanced.
Among other proposed law changes, it has suggested raising the fine for breaching legislation protecting sites from $50,000 to millions.
The inquiry began following the destruction of 46,000-year-old rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia by mining giant Rio Tinto.
It has also been found that the blasting of Juukan Gorge was one of four options for Rio Tinto, however it was the only option put to Traditional Owners.