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Australian Court backs Gold Fields claims - Mining Weekly

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

PERTH ( – The Australian Federal Court this week overturned a 2014 ruling that the re-grant of certain Western Australian tenements to gold miner Gold Fields’ Australian subsidiary was not compliant with the correct processes in the Native Title Act.

The 2014 Federal Court ruling found that the re-granted tenements were invalid to the extent that the exercise of rights under the tenements was inconsistent with the native title rights of the Ngadju People.

The Ngadju People had previously claimed to hold native titles covering about 250 mining tenements held by Gold Fields subsidiary St Ives, with 210 of those tenements invalid because the “right to negotiate”, as specified in the Native Title Act, was not upheld.

However, with the Federal Court this week overturning the 2014 ruling, it had confirmed that St Ives’ re-granted tenements were valid for the purpose of the Native Title Act, and that while St Ives’ rights as tenement holder and the Ngadju People’s native title rights shall coexist, St Ives’ rights shall prevail should there be any inconsistencies.

Gold Fields has welcomed the court ruling, saying that it confirmed the company had at all times complied with its legal obligations in respect of its dealings with these tenements.

“Gold Fields will continue to openly engage with the Ngadju People, and all other community stakeholders in relation to its operations in Australia,” the company said in a statement.

It was unclear whether the Ngadju People would seek to appeal this decision.

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