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Rio Tinto: Rio Tinto partners with Pilbara Cultural Land Management Project

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Rio Tinto will invest A$5.6 million over five years into the Pilbara Cultural Land Management Project (PCLMP) that enables Pilbara Traditional Owners to work together to preserve their Country and culture and keep their people strong.

The PCLMP was established in 2019, supported by the Pilbara Development Commission, as a response to the Pilbara Creative and Cultural Strategy, which highlighted cultural land management as a priority and the opportunity to support Pilbara Traditional Owners to lead projects that address land management and access.

The PCLMP has continued to evolve over the past two years as its members drive the design and development of a program to support cultural and conservation management across their native title determinations.

Rio Tinto’s partnership will strengthen the ability of the 12 participating PCLMP members to engage in training programs to help develop tools that support cultural, heritage and environmental mapping, monitoring and management. This will also include the provision of start-up suport for ranger programs, creating a network of knowledge-sharing as well as career development pathways.

The priorities and training programs have been developed by Traditional Owners for Traditional Owners to increase Aboriginal ownership and determination of programs – providing greater employment opportunities and ongoing social and cultural benefits.

Melissa Pepper, Karlka Nyiyaparli Ranger Program Coordinator, said “The PCLMP has really helped Nyiyaparli with the development process, with the PCLMP providing access to other coordinators and Rangers going through similar experiences”.

“There is a great willingness of all PCLMP members to share and help one another out. We all understand each other’s challenges, specific to the Pilbara and in my experience, this has been unique to the PCLMP.”

Yinhawangka Land Management Coordinator, Hilton Gruis said “The PCLMP is removing the silo mentality in the Pilbara and supporting cultural connection across Pilbara Traditional Owner groups, recognising the critical work of all PCLMP members in the preservation of Country and culture. For Yinhawangka people this includes the recent Yirra excavation which confirmed the presence of Yinhawangka people on Country for more than 50,000 years.”

Rio Tinto Vice President, Health, Safety, Environment and Communities Cecile Thaxter, said “Rio Tinto is grateful to be part of this collaboration; we want to strengthen our relationship with Traditional Owners in the Pilbara through the development of sustainable ranger programs that provide social, cultural, and environmental benefits.

“The Traditional Owners who make up the PCLMP has been caring for Country for thousands of years and through this project, Traditional Owners will have a greater say in the decisions that affect them.

“We recognise the importance of Traditional Owners taking the lead in caring for their Country and the importance of combining traditional knowledge with conservation training to protect and manage land, waters and culture.”

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