Building an Implementation Framework for Agreements with Aboriginal Landowners: A Case Study of The Granites Mine

Building an Implementation Framework for Agreements with Aboriginal Landowners: A Case Study of The Granites Mine Thesis

School of Architecture

  • Author(s): Barnes, Rodger
  • Published: 2014
  • Publisher: University of Queensland
  • Volume: M.Phil.

Abstract: This thesis addresses the important issue of implementation of agreements between Aboriginal people and mining companies. The primary aim is to contribute to developing a framework for considering implementation of agreements by examining how outcomes vary according to the processes and techniques of implementation. The research explores some of the key factors affecting the outcomes of agreements through a single case study of The Granites Agreement between Newmont Mining Corporation and traditional Aboriginal landowners made under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) 1976. This is a fine-grained longitudinal study of the origins and operation of the mining agreement over a 28-year period from its inception in 1983 to 2011. A study of such depth and scope of a single mining agreement between Aboriginal people and miners has not previously been undertaken. The history of The Granites from the first European contact with Aboriginal people is compiled, which sets the study of the Agreement in the context of the continued adaption by Warlpiri people to European colonisation. The examination of the origins and negotiations of the Agreement demonstrates the way very disparate interests between Aboriginal people, government and the mining company were reconciled. A range of political agendas intersected in the course of making the Agreement which created an extremely complex and challenging environment not only for negotiations but also for managing the Agreement once it was signed. The Agreement ultimately served a range of purposes including provision of benefits to Aboriginal stakeholders and gaining consent of the traditional owners to development of the mine. In terms of outcomes, the longevity of the mining operation, the lack of disputation, continued capital investment and corporate acquisitions of the mine were evidence of the security the Agreement provided to the mining company. Less certainty was evident with respect to identifying sustainable outcomes for Aboriginal stakeholders. Two main areas were analysed, being a) Aboriginal employment; and b) payments to Aboriginal stakeholders. In terms of sustainable benefits over the long term for Aboriginal people the research found that achieving positive outcomes required highly committed and collaborative approaches to implementation. The research confirmed that a range of components needed to be in place, including explicit corporate commitment, strong company and Aboriginal leadership, clearly articulated goals, effective organisational structures and systems, backed by sufficient financial and human resources. In addition to these components the research revealed that positive and effective working relationships between the parties were critical. At the centre of these relationships were highly committed personnel dedicated to achieving positive outcomes for Aboriginal stakeholders.

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Suggested Citation
Barnes, Rodger, 2014, Building an Implementation Framework for Agreements with Aboriginal Landowners: A Case Study of The Granites Mine, Volume:M.Phil., Thesis, viewed 15 August 2022,

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