Land agreements

Land agreements


We have engaged in agreement making with Traditional Owner groups in the Pilbara for more than 20 years. This has led to "claim wide" or "country wide" agreements covering the traditional country of the Banjima, Eastern Guruma, Kuruma Marthudunera, Ngarlawangga, Ngarluma, Nyiyaparli, Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura, Yinhawangka and Yindjibarndi Traditional Owner groups.

Agreements provide recognition of Native Title rights and interests of Traditional Owner groups while securing the ongoing operations and expansion of our iron ore business in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. They also provide monetary and non-monetary intergenerational benefits for local communities and Traditional Owner groups.

Walking the land together

Walking the land together

Image source: Walking the land together, Lisa Holland-McNair; photo by Christian Sprogoe

Thursday 15 November 2018 marked the culmination of four years' work for author Lisa Holland-McNair, with the launch of her book Walking the Land Together: Pilbara Conversations by the Honourable Ben Wyatt, Treasurer and Minister for Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs.

Walking the Land Together follows on from an earlier book Rio Tinto released in in 2006 which focused on the positive impact our Dampier-based Aboriginal Training and Liaison Unit had on local communities.

Regional Framework Deed (RFD)

In 2011, following the execution of the Claim Wide Participation Agreements, the Traditional Owner groups were given the opportunity to opt into the Regional Framework Deed (RFD). The purpose of the RFD is to promote wellbeing of Pilbara Aboriginal People, particularly Traditional Owners, and provides non-monetary benefits that assist in addressing the joint commitments aligned to the following seven regional standards:

  • Aboriginal Employment and Training
  • Aboriginal Business Development and Contracting
  • Cultural Heritage Management
  • Environmental Management
  • Life of Mine Planning
  • Land Access
  • Cultural Awareness Training

The RFD provides the opportunity for the establishment of a Regional Implementation Committee (RIC), with the purpose of providing Rio Tinto and Traditional Owner groups with a regional forum to address particular commitments around Employment and Training and Business Development. The RIC was formally established in April 2016 and consists of representatives from 8 Pilbara Traditional Owner groups, including Banjima, Kuruma Marthudunera, Ngarlawangga, Ngarluma, Nyiyaparli, Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura, Yinhawangka and Yindjibarndi.

In partnership with Pilbara Aboriginal people, our 2017 achievements include:

  • There were 967 Indigenous people employed across our iron ore business (8.2 per cent) at the time
  • Approximately 39.2 per cent of Pilbara expenditure in 2017 was with Pilbara Aboriginal businesses and their joint venture partner
  • Approximately 96 per cent of our employees have completed industry-leading cultural awareness training, fostering greater understanding and respect for traditional culture