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Andrew Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group loses appeal against Pilbara native title claim

Author: Andrea Mayes & Rebecca Parish, ABC News, Published on: 18 October 2019

18 October 2019

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest faces a compensation fight after losing an appeal against a WA native title ruling over a huge tract of ore-rich Pilbara land.

The land in question includes the multi-billion dollar Solomon Hub iron ore mine belonging to Mr Forrest's Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).

Two years ago the Federal Court granted native title to 2,700 square kilometres of land north of Karijini National Park to the Yinjibarndi people.

FMG appealed the decision to grant exclusive native title to the group, citing concern about the higher standard of engagement with traditional owner groups required.

But the Federal Court rejected the appeal on all grounds — prompting FMG to flag a possible appeal to the High Court.

"We are considering our next steps which may include an appeal to the High Court," FMG chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said in a statement.

[...]

...Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC)...chief executive Michael Woodley described the decision as a "fantastic result" but said the group would still have to fight for compensation from FMG.

[...]

But FMG downplayed the possibility of a substantial compensation payout.

"The matter of compensation is an entirely separate matter and our legal advice is consistent with our previous view that there is no material financial impact to Fortescue following today's decision," Ms Gaines said.

"Our mining tenure rights and current operations are also unaffected."

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