Buru Energy 'bulldozed Aboriginal site'

Kimberley Aboriginal leader Wayne Bergmann has demanded Buru Energy halt works at its Ungani oilfield operations in the Canning Basin, claiming the company had bulldozed a significant Aboriginal site without permission and damaged artefacts tens of thousands of years old.

Mr Bergmann has lodged a complaint with the Department of Indigenous Affairs, which has said it is investigating the matter.

Test production of oil began at Ungani, about 100km east of Broome, earlier this year, in the first commercial onshore production in the region since the Blina oilfield started up in 1983.

Mr Bergmann said Buru had been warned by traditional owners not to conduct ground disturbing works in the sandhills, which contained extensive evidence of human habitation.

“The ‘Blue Hills’ is an area that had a high Aboriginal population,” he said.

“There is rock art, grinding stones … there’s about 50 of them and spear sharpening tools in the area they’ve bulldozed. We’re talking about material that is 10, 20, 30 thousand years old.

“We are outraged at the lack of respect Buru Energy has for Aboriginal people and our heritage; Buru Energy needs a lesson on how to work with Kimberley Aboriginal people.”

In partnership with Buru Energy, Mitsubishi owns 50 per cent of the exploration tenements in the Canning Basin, in northern Western Australia.

Buru Energy executive director Eric Streitberg said all of Buru’s operations were conducted after heritage clearances were obtained from traditional owners.

The area in question was being prepared for a geophysical survey to be carried out, he said.

“This particular work was conducted following extensive consultation with the Nyikina Mangala people over a period of nine months and has included on-ground monitoring by the traditional owners,” he said.

He said there were no sites registered with the Department of Indigenous Affairs in the area of the alleged disturbance.

However, Buru had agreed to halt works while investigations were carried out.

“As soon as Buru was made aware of the concerns, operations ceased in the area in question and the company will not conduct any further work in that area until all investigations are complete,” he said.

A Department of Indigenous Affairs spokesman said the Aboriginal Heritage Act protected all Aboriginal sites even if they were not recorded on the register.

The Department was advised of the allegation yesterday and responded immediately, he said.

Buru shares closed down one cent at $2.81.

Responses to "Mining company accused of destroying Indigenous site "

  1. I'm talking about.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There are no words. Where are the archaeological surveys, photographic record, relocation of relics? This is truly devastating and I'm thoroughly dismayed at the loss. I understand the need to mine more than most as my father has made a good living from petrology. I appreciate that things can't stay the same but am utterly devastated to see such a lack of consideration for the human imprint on this continent to allow it to be erased in such a callous way. This is the history of the human condition, it all adds up to the meaning of life itself and should be preserved for future generations to learn from even if we decide in our infancy that it should be bulldozed in the name of progress.

  3. Anonymous says:

    bad on natura

  4. Anonymous says:

    Are we ready, to keep loosing our Forest,our Oceans, our Mountains our History and our an-sister's Footprints to this industries that is the modern Te rex of today.
    I pray and request that this action stop's Now.The Aborigine of Australia and the Tribal of this world has been raided from their habitat, from their culture and from their sacred land.
    At this rates our grand kids will still drive cars and fly planes around the world but will be deprived of so many sacred sites, forest and natural wonders.
    If we rate "gain" in a form of money this a way to go.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I said it before and I'll say it again. The white man can't leave anything alone, everything he touches it gets destroyed. When will he see that enough is enough? When the earth caves in under his grand children's or great grand children's feet or when the our mother dries up n there is no more water to drink or when there will be no more animals for his grand children to see because there will not be any habitat for them left to live in. He works against mother nature not with her. When will he see what he is doing is wrong??????

  6. Stop ripping up my Country and leave it alone! People are flocking to Western Australia to "make money" with no regard to what big Companies are doing to Western Australia. This is wrong, stop making money the focus and leave Western Australia alone!

  7. Anonymous says:

    heritage clearances were obtained from traditional owners. Some poeple will read only what they want to from this article

  8. Margo says:

    Living in Canada I am watching our Aboriginals fighting against Tar Sands Bitumin pipelines to the West Coast through the Rocky Mountains. Many valleys, rivers, creeks, bog wet lands, so much to lose if/when a break/spill happens. There is no way they can say "won't happen"! It has many times and will again.
    There are the betrayers who will sign off for much money, and our future generations will suffer the loss.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Doesn't sound like permission to mine from the relevant Indigenous community to me.

  10. GUBRUN MAN says:

    What a shame I am outraged every big mine company should know that they have to bring in T.Os to walk country to make sure that nothing like this happens shame on them

  11. Kirsten Tona says:

    The West Australian government is notorious fotelling the traditional owners: sign permission or we will forcibly acquit the land and you will receive no compensation.

    Read about the struggles of the Yindjibarndi people against mining giants Fortescue Metal Groups if you want to see the really dirty tactics used by miners and government.

  12. Unknown says:

    Just watched 'Sacred Burial Land' DVD from DASSA re aboriginal land and land development at Black Point. Made me cry. It's so sad. White gov have no respect for the land - would it be ok to develop directly over a 'white' cemetary??? I hope to travel to the area to pay my respects to the past and present aboriginal people of the land. Margi

  13. Shameful that we as the current population of humans living at this point in time cannot see that we have a caretaker responsibility towards all ancient prehistoric sites, for the generations that are coming still. These places are dotted all over the earth and need our protection. Thanks for highlighting this issue, it is very important that we act locally, please find out efforts here in South Africa and lend your support to the Sacred Sites Foundation of Southern Africa (registered Not for Profit Organisation which does educational tours & public awareness ventures) particularly trying to protect ancient sites on Table Mountain.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The history of mankind is gradually reduced to a few thousand years, as the people who made history, going back beyond those few thousand will have disappeared along with their history. Mankind will be so much more impoverished of his true history.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "The history of mankind is gradually reduced to a few thousand years, as the people who made history, going back beyond those few thousand will have disappeared along with their history. Mankind will be so much more impoverished of his true history."

    such a good point!

    This whole thing is terrible :(

    - Aaron

    Great grand-son of Bilin Bilin

  16. Anonymous says:

    Britain set up colonies in Australia and North America to exploit the resources and asset strip the continents. The governments of the settler societies of Canada and Australia still swear oaths to The Crown, so it continues, for the good of empire of course. Most big miners are owned by, or in debt to the big bankers from within the City of London. The rightful Sovereigns of these lands need their right to Custodianship and veto power returned to them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I'm ashamed of how these people are treated. I'm ashamed of being born into a group of people to be headed only by greed and consumerism and become blind for the elementary of this world.

Write a comment