Anindilyakwa Vision and Guiding Principles for Mine Closure

For over 8,000 years, the Anindilyakwa people have been custodians of the Groote Archipelago.

Anindilyakwa people (warnumamalya) have coexisted with non-Indigenous people (wurrumangkadirra) since the arrival of Anglican missionaries on Groote Eylandt in 1921.

In 1965 the Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) began mining manganese on Groote Eylandt, dramatically changing the lives of warnumamalya. In around 2030, GEMCO’s mine will close and warnumamalya lives will change again.

The project (icon)
The project

SVA Consulting, together with Aboriginal social enterprise Guumali, were asked by GEMCO – now owned by South32 – to engage with warnumamalya to understand and document their vision for the Groote Archipelago after the GEMCO mine closes.

The objective (icon)
The objective

The traditional owner vision for Groote is intended to provide a road map for all stakeholders with a role in the mine closure process, showing how they can work together to support warnumamalya realise their vision. Those stakeholders include GEMCO, the Northern Territory Government (NTG), the Australian Government (through the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)), the Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC) and other Anindilyakwa corporations.

The role we played

We captured conversations with warnumamalya over six visits to the Groote Archipelago between May 2021 and February 2022 to create the vision. This included Traditional Owners, family groups, key organisations, and other groups of warnumamalya, such as women and young people, who risk being marginalised in decision-making. 

We benefited greatly from the advice and guidance of several warnumamalya who played the role of community liaison, directing us to key people, coordinating meetings and supporting with translation.

Our impact (icon)
Project impact

Warnumamalya’s vision for Groote has now been documented and shared. This project represents the start of a much longer process. The legacy of the manganese mine on Groote is a complex one and the closure process offers an opportunity for GEMCO and other stakeholders to support warnumamalya in achieving their vision for a future that is centred around Anindilyakwa culture and over which warnumamalya have ultimate control.  

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