CASE STUDY: CAPE YORK, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
An increase in lithium mining exploration permits are concerning Traditional land holder groups located in areas handed back for management on the Cape York Peninsula of Northern Queensland. Seventy one (71) mining exploration permits have been granted in Cape York. Much of the land is classified Aboriginal “freehold” land, which allows for exploration and traditional land owners have no decision making rights in the issuance of permits on these lands.
The Olkola Aboriginal Corporation, a large landholder on the Cape, have plans for alternative futures to lithium ‘green’ extractivism, including the protection of core habitat of the endangered golden-shouldered parrot, or Alwal, which is an Olkola totem animal. Traditional groups are mobilising in response to demand an overhaul of the Native Title Act 1993 and legal battles are underway. For more information, view here
IMAGE: The Wenlock River at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve. A portion of Cape York land handed to traditional owners is classified national park and protected, but about half is granted as ‘freehold’ and remains at the mercy of mining companies. Photograph: Russell Shakespeare/AAP