Clive Palmer, Mineralogy and the Kuruma Marthudunera people of the Pilbara
By Hedley Thomas and Paige Taylor, from The Australian, May 1, 2014, page 1 (abbreviated)
Mathew Sampi, said yesterday he had no confidence in Mr Palmer as the tycoon had broken past pledges to spend money on indigenous health. “We don’t believe anything he says now,’’ said Mr Sampi, who represents the Kuruma Marthudunera people and grew up fishing and hunting in the Cape Preston area in the Pilbara, near an iron ore project built by Chinese company CITIC Pacific.
“He can suck a lot of Aboriginal people in and some of them really don’t know what they have been talked into. He seemed real good in the beginning, saying he was going to help the Aboriginal people in the area. They destroyed a lot of things, they disturbed special places where there used to be ancient tools.”
Findings by magistrates include that Mr Palmer’s company and staff exhibited “a sense of absolute entitlement in relation to mining endeavours” and “adopted an unduly confrontational approach” with indigenous owners.
Mr Sampi said yesterday that Mr Palmer told Aboriginal leaders he would establish health services in townships outside the big regional centre of Karratha, particularly in Roebourne where most of the town’s 1000 residents are indigenous. “He’s promised big, lots of money down here for medical reasons and medical stuff, and he’s given nobody nothing.,” he said. “I (first) met Palmer when I was a kid on property he is now leasing. We’ve had a lot of trouble with him. We got suspicious when he stopped talking about it anymore. And then he went back to his place over there in Queensland ...”
Mr Sampi, in Perth with his family yesterday for chemotherapy, said it was important to stand up for his land and he believed there were lessons for other Aborigines in his experience. According to one of the findings in 2012, Mineralogy’s approach and past conduct “gives rise to serious and genuine concerns about heritage protection” or legal compliance. In an earlier Native Title Tribunal case, Mineralogy was found to have given a “take it or leave it” ultimatum to indigenous owners of the land the company wanted to mine. Tribunal deputy president John Sosso found that Mineralogy had not acted prudently, reasonably or responsibly in its dealings with Aborigines. In a case involving the Kuruma Marthudundera group, elders Neil Ricky Finlay and Mr Sampi told the court of bad experiences with the company in the Pilbara region, which includes sacred burial grounds near the Cane River and the town of Karratha.
The Mining Court’s magistrate, Elaine Campione, described the two elders as “respected, senior and knowledgeable men” and she accepted their evidence. Ms Campione said none of the evidence presented by Mr Finlay and Mr Sampi “was contested by (Mineralogy)”. She said she shared the view of Mr Sampi and Mr Finlay that Mineralogy had a “particularly poor approach to cultural and heritage matters, including a complete lack of consultation”.
Mathew Sampi was filmed at Cane River on Peedamulla Station out from Onslow WA in January 2004. A true land rights fighter. RIP.