Weipa: industrialisation and indigenous rights in a remote Australian mining area

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    The changing place of Aboriginal people within the Weipa region of Cape York is reviewed, from the development of the Comalco mine in the late 1950s and early 1960s through to the current negotiations concerning normalisation of the mining town and a proposal to develop an alumina refinery. It is argued that the relationship between Comalco and the Napranum community is unique within the Australian mining industry. While problems and ambiguities persist, Weipa provides valuable examples of ways to pursue equitable resolutions to the inequitable legacies of history. Three issues are identified as crucial at Weipa - development of strong personal relationships between the company's senior management and Aboriginal community leaders; the impact of divisions within Comalco around issues of sustainable development; and recognition by Aboriginal leaders that the mining company had an ambivalent rather than simply hostile role in the region. -Author

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-235
    Number of pages13
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1992


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