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Argyle Diamond Mine celebrates 10 year anniversary of landmark Participation Agreement

24 november 2014

Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine celebrated the 10th anniversary of its landmark Participation Agreement with the Traditional Owners of the mine, the Gija and Miriuwung people. Signed in 2004, the Participation Agreement provides Traditional Owners with active participation in the economic benefits of diamond mining and a voice in the mining decisions that affect their interests, according to a Press Release by Rio Tinto Diamonds.
During the ceremony at the Argyle Diamond Mine, which was attended by the Traditional Owners, Argyle Diamonds managing director Shane Johnson reflected on the success of Participation Agreement, adding that it had brought significant benefits for the Traditional Owners and the mine. Johnson said “I am honoured to stand here today and acknowledge the importance and strength of the Participation Agreement as it continues to drive progressive change at the mine and also the way we manage our diamond business. Today, Argyle’s influence stretches into many spheres and over many continents but it is on the land of the East Kimberley region of Western Australia that the Traditional Owners have enabled the world to see indigenous engagement in a whole new light.”
Miriuwung Traditional Owner and Chairman of the Gelganyem Trust, Ted Hall highlighted the past challenges faced by the Traditional Owners in the early 1990s and the positive changes that he has witnessed in the local communities since the agreement was put in place.
The Argyle Participation Agreement remains one of the most comprehensive agreements ever made in Australia between a resource company and Traditional Owners and symbolises an unprecedented action in the history of mining companies in engaging indigenous communities.

Aruna Gaitonde, Rough&Polished correspondent in India