WA Government issues Chinese company a stop-work order over Kimberley land clearing

Mine rehabilitation - DecipherGreen
Industry News / Mining & Resources

WA Government issues Chinese company a stop-work order over Kimberley land clearing

Key points:

  • The WA Government has ordered Chinese company, Zenith Australia, to stop clearing land at Yakka Munga station
  • It comes following protests and a blockade by traditional owners, the Nyikina Mangala people
  • They say under their Indigenous Land Use Agreement, they should have been consulted

Zenith Australia Investment Holding is accused in the notice of “unauthorised clearing” under the Environmental Protection Act.

The stop-work order, called a “Vegetation Conservation Notice” was issued by Western Australia’s Department of Water and Environmental Regulation yesterday after the company cleared vast tracts of land on the station.

The action follows a protest by the Nyikina Mangala people who say they should have been consulted before the land was cleared under their Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the company.

Traditional owners blockaded the site on Wednesday, refusing to allow contract workers onto the property.

Protest organiser, Rosita Shaw, said she was happy that the WA Government had listened to their concerns.

“We went out there to make a noise so the Government can listen to us … protecting our country,” Ms Shaw said.

Company likely to fight order

The company, Zenith Australia Investment Holding, has declined to comment since the Nyikina Mangala people raised the alarm about the clearing earlier this month.

But Tony Seabrook of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association said the company was “well within their rights” to clear the land.

“They haven’t done anything that they ought not to have done,” Mr Seabrook said.

“You can’t have development without knocking down a bit of bush country … you can’t.

“And so much of what I have seen where there has been grief and anger, the areas that are involved are an absolute pin prick.

“In conversation with them (Zenith Australia) they indicated to me that they were prepared to fight this, and unlike a lot of smaller pastoralists they actually have the capacity to do that.”

Mr Seabrook, said the clearing was designed to improve access to all parts of the property and to create extensive watering points for livestock.

Authorities have estimated the scale of the clearing at about 24 kilometres in length and 50 metres wide.

WA’s Environment Minister, Stephen Dawson, delivered the news of the stop work order to the Nyikina Mangala people in Broome yesterday.

“The Government is treating this issue really seriously,” Mr Dawson said.

“I’m concerned that from my perspective, proper processes have not been followed.

“The proponent will say that they thought they had approval under a different Act but that is certainly not my understanding and not my reading.

“It is absolutely the right thing to do to stop any further work and to go through the proper channels and seek proper approvals.”

According to a WA Government document, Yakka Munga is owned by Zenith Australia Group, which also owns six other properties around WA.

Its parent company Shanghai CRED also has a joint venture with Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, which owns stations covering 80,000 square kilometres across three states and the Northern Territory.

Originally published by ABC News.


Find out how mine rehabilitation legislation in Australia is changing in our FREE guide.

Useful links:

  • Speak to our team for a free demo of our mine rehabilitation tool DecipherGreen
  • See how our solutions help manage environmental, standard and approval requirements for mine rehabilitation here

Don’t miss another update!