Australia's highest court has rejected a bid by Fortescue Metals Group to appeal a court decision that gave an Aboriginal group exclusive title rights to land at its Solomon Hub iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, reported Reuters.

In 2017, Australia's Federal Court ruled in favour of the indigenous Yindjibarndi People in a longstanding claim over land used by Fortescue to mine millions of tonnes of iron ore at its Solomon Hub.

The ruling handed the Yindjibarndi people exclusive native title rights over 2,700 sq. km (1,040 sq. miles) of land covering the Solomon Hub, which has a production capacity of 70 to 75 million tonnes a year.

Fortescue lodged an application with the Australia High Court after losing an earlier appeal last year, but was refused leave to appeal.

Yindjibarndi leader Michael Woodley told Reuters in 2017 when the decision was first handed down that the group would seek compensation from Fortescue because it had built the Solomon operations without an appropriate land-use deal.

Fortescue said it was disappointed with the recent court decision but it did not expect the outcome to have any impact on current or future operations or its mining tenure at the Solomon Hub, and it did not expect any financial impact.

“We remain open to negotiating a Land Access Agreement to the benefit of all Yindjibarndi people on similar terms to the agreements Fortescue has in place with other native title groups in the region,” said Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines in a statement.

Source: www.reuters.com

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