Working alongside its local community is at the forefront for Newcrest Mining Limited, one of the world’s largest gold mining companies, with a recent economic baseline study undertaken with the Martu people providing direction for their Telfer community programs. 

Baseline Project Consultant, Chris Mahoney, notes comments from a Bidyadanga woman.

Historically, Newcrest have always worked with the Martu people, the traditional owners of the land around Newcrest’s Telfer site, with the principle aim of providing opportunities and programs to improve health, education, training and employment outcomes for communities.

Newcrest Community Relations Advisor, Daniel Tincknell (left), speaks with community members in Broome.

Newcrest have been driven to build a strong and productive relationship with them, through such efforts as: providing cultural awareness training to all Newcrest staff and contractors working in and around Telfer; giving preference to Martu contracting companies; training or employing over 500 Martu men and women at Telfer in the past 15 years; and employing a Martu Liason Officer. Aiming to exceed their obligations to the Martu community, Newcrest regularly provide flights, accommodation, fuel and vehicle break down assistance in the remote area, and also created the five-year sport development program “Ngurra Kujungka”. 

Newcrest Manager External Affairs and Social Performance Ben Bryant (right), meets with Martu Elder Merridoo Walbidi and advisor Dan Toby.

On 4 December 2015, Newcrest and the Martu people put their long-term relationship onto a formal footing when Newcrest signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation. It was to date the most significant step made with the Martu people, since mining operations began at Telfer over 40 years ago, and consolidates the programs and projects that Telfer have previously delivered.

Providing AUD $18 million over the first five years for the benefit of the Martu people and their quality of life, the agreement ensures practical support in areas of training and employment, contracting and logistics. It also provides ongoing heritage protection for areas of special significance.

Following the signing of the ILUA, Newcrest took their commitment one step further, undertaking a socio-economic baseline study with members of the Martu community. 

The study was designed to gather information which would assist Newcrest in better understanding the Martu people, thus aiding Newcrest in making well-informed decisions on the economic and social contributions of their community programs.

To begin, two teams of six to eight people comprising of local Martu representatives, Telfer Community Relations staff and anthropologists began a two-week exercise covering thousands of kilometres. Collectively, they visited Martu communities in and around Bidyadanga, Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, Hedland, Jigalong, Kunawarritji, Marble Bar, Newman, Nullagine, Parnngurr, Punmu, Roebourn, Wangkatjungka, and Warralong. 

Each team collected information via meetings and surveys conducted in these locations. The discussions covered: population and demographic characteristics; housing, assets and migration; community infrastructure and services; employment experience and income; skills, education and training; individual’s goals and wishes regarding business development and employment; and existing barriers to gaining employment or starting and operating a successful business. 

“Newcrest and Martu will both benefit from the comprehensive study that has now been completed,” said Newcrest Manager of External Affairs and Social Performance Ben Bryant. 

“We will review the outcomes of the study, which will enable us to respond more quickly and appropriately in supporting the Martu people”, he said.

Visit Newcrest Mining’s website for more information on their community engagement activities and careers.

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