By Joel Scanlon
The new chief executive of Fortescue Metals Group said that a royalty deal with Aboriginal land owners at the Solomon mine in Western Australia was out of the question. Neville Power said that it was not going to happen because they knew it's not going to do any good for the community.
The Solomon project is 200 km south of the Roebourne in Yindjibarndi county. The land has literally got billions of dollars worth of iron ore and the community is divided over the deal that the Fortescue Metals group has offered them to mine the land.
The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation or YAC is opposed to the offer of $4 million a year in cash and $6.5 million a year in housing, jobs, training and business opportunities that the Fortescue Metals group has offered.
They would rather have something like the deal Rio Tinto has made with the other traditional owner groups of paying 0.5 % in uncapped royalties. However the Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi people support the existing offer open to them
Mr Power said that if you look at those communities that have had large cash payments for many years, they haven't improved, whereas we've demonstrated that providing training, guaranteed jobs, housing and mentoring support to those people actually improves their lives.