Our operation is surrounded by the Territory’s Gulf region communities.
In everything we do, we seek to consider the community, respect the unique cultural heritage and partner with local groups to make a positive and enduring contribution to the region’s future.
Our community team
Our community and corporate affairs team is responsible for community engagement, cultural heritage management, community development and corporate affairs.
The team interacts constantly with the Borroloola and surrounding communities. It is a huge area, extending from our operation at one of the world’s most remote mines at McArthur River, 120 kilometres north to our equally remote Bing Bong Loading Facility.
Our people at McArthur River Mine are actively involved in the community, attending events and activities and participating on boards and committees.
Regular open community meetings are held with residents in the region. We also support a sponsorships and donations program, with $340,000 committed for projects in 2020.
Our investment in the community includes:
- a permanent office in Borroloola for regular engagement with the community
- a partnership agreement with Borroloola School to provide cash and in-kind support to school activities including mentoring, coaching, flights and support for school programs
- training and employment programs for local residents
- a local procurement partnership program with the Northern Territory Industry Capability Network and Gulf Region suppliers.
Our community app
Stay in touch with everything happening at McArthur River Mine with our award-winning community app, available for free download.
A further benefit of the app is that it enables our mine operations to keep in touch with people if power outages or cyclones cause other communications to fail.
It includes an emergency call button, important safety information, a village map, links to websites and a host of other features. To download the app, search for 'MRM Community' in iTunes, Google Play or the Amazon App Store.
McArthur River Mine and the Bing Bong Loading Facility are on the traditional lands of the Gudanji and Yanyuwa people.
The lands are important to these and other local traditional language groups including Garrwa and Marra people.
Working with Traditional Owners
We respect, recognise and value the cultural rights, practices and traditions of Indigenous people, learn from their wisdom, and seek to provide:
- a culturally inclusive and equitable workplace, promoting the culture and values of Traditional Owners, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island employees and community members
- cultural awareness training for all employees and advanced cross-cultural training for supervisors and Indigenous employee mentors
- support for onsite and Borroloola NAIDOC and Reconciliation Week celebrations.
Around 20% of our workforce identifies as Indigenous. We aim to increase that percentage through mentoring and dedicated programs.
Safeguarding valued relationships
Our commitment to cultural heritage management has led to valued relationships with Traditional Owners, custodians and other Indigenous people.
It is critical that our workforce understands the traditional rights and culture of Indigenous people.
We have systems and processes in place to ensure sites of cultural significance and matters of cultural interest are identified and preserved.
Preserving cultural heritage
We work with the Traditional Owners to preserve cultural heritage.
Studies including archaeological and ethnographic surveys have identified 17 culturally significant sites in the mine lease area. They have a link to dreamtime stories or are important to Indigenous history and culture, and are registered with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA).
The AAPA is a statutory authority of the Northern Territory (NT) Government, established under complementary NT legislation in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976. The AAPA has issued authority certificates for the mine's operational areas in accordance with the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989.
McArthur River Mine preserves and manages identified sacred sites in line with Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority conditions that call for:
- entry to sacred sites to be prevented
- no work that disturbs the ground at sacred sites
- prevention of damage to any vegetation at sacred sites other than for specified purposes
- no material to be stored or material to be parked near sacred sites
- protective fences and signage to be erected around sacred sites
- clearing permits required for any employee or contractor undertaking works that may disturb the ground or vegetation anywhere on the mining lease, not only adjacent to sacred sites.
Process to access sacred sites
We understand that access to sacred and significant sites is essential to preserve cultural heritage. We work closely with Traditional Owners to organise regular site visits.
As an operational mine, the health and safety of all employees and visitors is our highest priority.
Anyone seeking access to the mine site for cultural purposes is required to provide at least 48 hours' notice of the visit to the Community Relations team.
This enables us to ensure it is safe to enter the nominated area or make alternative arrangements as necessary.
The Community Benefits Trust is a joint partnership between the Gulf region community, the Northern Territory Government and McArthur River Mine.
It is funded by an annual donation from McArthur River Mine of $1.3 million.
The Community Benefits Trust has an independent board, comprising:
- one representative of the Gudanji, Yanyuwa, Garrwa and Marra language groups
- one Borroloola representative
- two directors appointed by the Northern Territory Government
- two directors appointed by McArthur River Mine.
Legacy fund established
The Community Benefits Trust Board established a legacy fund containing an initial $1 million in 2018 to ensure funding continues for community benefit at end of mine life.
The trust currently contributes an additional $250,000 annually. It is intended that the legacy fund will become self-sustaining over time.
Community development program
The Community Benefits Trust operates under a three-year rolling community development program involving extensive engagement with the local community.