In Depth: Mines Versus Aboriginal Culture

With four accounts in the past month coming to attention, we take a look at the escalating disrespect for traditional Aboriginal lands and heritage by Australia’s resource industry – and the flawed legislation allowing it to happen.

Sadly, this is a familiar story: the wealth and power of the resources industry overshadowing traditional land owners.

Last month, media reports came too late, as a rock shelter in Juukan Gorge was blown up by Rio Tinto on 24 May, at the Brockman 4 iron ore mine in the Pilbara region.

University of London archaeologist and anthropologist Dr Lawrence Owens told Mining Technology: ‘There is no other way of putting this – the destruction of Juukan Gorge cave was a travesty and a disgrace. It is difficult to fully express the magnitude of what this site was, what it meant, and how its destruction has impacted upon us all.’

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina